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The Road To Success
December 2004

Rest, Relaxation and Recreation

During a vacation this past year I came up with an exciting new coaching program (Value Program) for my business. I wasn't planning to do this on my vacation. I hadn't set aside some work time at my computer. I hadn't even brought a notebook to jot down ideas. I really didn't expect to have any notable thoughts! It just happened as I took my regular morning walk each day. The ideas just flowed in.

When I returned from my walk I wrote my thoughts on a sheet of paper and tucked it in my suitcase. This happened for all 7 days that I was on vacation. So is it any surprise when I tell you this year one of my goals will be to take more vacations!

In the past years I have always brought my work with me when I went on vacation. One of the "benefits" of coaching by phone is that you can do it from anywhere and I do! But it doesn't really feel like a vacation if you bring your work with you.

At various times in the past when I was not self-employed I traveled to Europe for a vacation. Traveling that far meant that I left my work for a week or two.

The first time I did it, one of the owners of the company I was working for was really annoyed with me. I was entitled to the time off but he would have preferred that I not take my vacation time. He measured my commitment to the job in terms of hours that I spent working. Shortly after my vacation we had a layoff and of course I was one of the people laid off!

The second time I was away for two weeks in Greece but called my office regularly to be sure nothing came up that I needed to handle. My first experience had made me feel that although I had the vacation time, my work and my job must come first. Is this any way to take a vacation?

There is a strong work ethic in the US and like any strength it has its downside too. My recent experience has shown me that by working long hours and not taking vacations I probably have sacrificed my creativity. Without a relaxing regular vacation stress levels are higher and health is compromised.

One coach I know recommends that as soon as you get a new calendar for the year you put your vacations on it. I'm going to try that this year. One friend of mine claims that the same work will be done in whatever time is allotted. She says she stretches her work out when she has a lot of time and manages to get it done when time is short.

As we approach the end of the year and you are making your plans for 2005, why not put your vacations on your calendar. If you are allowed to take 3 weeks vacation, make sure you put in all 3 weeks. (Three weeks is the amount that the organization Take Back Your Time (<http://www.timeday.org>) is suggesting for everyone.)

Christmas and New Year's Day come on Saturday this year. I hope many will take an extra day or two to extend the holiday. That way you will end this year and begin the next relaxing with friends and family or spending the day by yourself reading and doing the things you don't have time for during the work week. Maybe that will lead to a less stressful, more enjoyable 2005.

I wish you a joyful holiday and a happy New Year!

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Relax and enjoy the holidays!! :-)