I’m back and boy do I have a lot of fodder for my blog. I spent the last 2 weeks in mainland Ecuador and on a small sailboat cruising the Galapagos Islands. During this time:
- I had no access to the internet
- My cell phone didn’t work
- Except for a couple of days there was no TV
It was HEAVEN! There are times when we all have to get away. Far, far, away. I have learned that I need to make myself completely unavailable during my vacations to really disconnect from work. If I can check e-mail, I will. If I can be reached by phone, someone *will* call me. I’ve received ship to shore phone calls when I’ve been on cruise ships. I’ve gotten late night wakeup calls when I’ve been in different timezones. Now, I make sure to avoid the possibility altogether. I try to fall off the face of the earth.
I think that we all know some people who refuse to get away. They just can’t fathom leaving their work behind, not even for an instant. They are worried that that work world will fall apart without them. The fact is that nobody is indispensible. It’s a fantasy to think that work can’t go on without you for a couple of days or weeks. It will. It might not be quite as efficient, but it will.
The other problem with refusing to let work go is that it becomes all consuming. Eventually it will burn you out. Without a break, you lose all ability to have perspective on what really is important in the world. Going out and connecting with people from different cultures who speak different languages and finding out that underneath all of the differences people essentially are the same provides me with the perspective that I need. Everyone wants to be loved, everyone wants to be respected, everyone wants to be heard. Those lessons can be applied to the work world as well.
So how do you get away and not worry about work? Well, first of all you need to be able to designate a backup. If you’re doing a good job of developing your team, this won’t be hard, you should have a few people in your organization that you can trust to take over when you’re gone. Determine who will back you up based on the company needs at the time. Sometimes when work is really going smoothly, you can choose a backup who is junior and needs to gain confidence. Other times, when things are fast and furious, you need to designate someone who can really take charge, someone that you trust to close the deal, press toward the milestone, or deliver the product.
The next step is to make sure the person you designate is prepared for the job. Give them a good description of what you need them to accomplish. Be very specific. Make sure they have a list of the items to really watch out for that concern you. Ensure that they have someone to turn to for help if they need it.
Get away. You know you need to. Don’t let your life pass you by without taking the time that you need to recharge your batteries, no matter what that entails for you. Nobody at the end of their life wishes that they worked more.