A Much Needed Truth
Contributed by Brian White, Director of Field Operations
I would like to think that my personality lends itself more towards prioritization than it does to procrastination. Therefore, I do not adhere to the excuse of procrastination. If you think about a task you want to complete, but then don’t place importance on it, it won’t get done very soon, if at all. It is only when you make something a priority that it actually gets done. Like many people, I struggled to prioritize certain things in my life that are easier to procrastinate. The most recent example of this, was taking a vacation with my family.
Earlier in April, I took the week off to partake in the week-long “national holiday” we call spring break. This is the first time in my adult life I have taken the entire week off with my family and dedicated it to a true vacation. Numerous studies indicate that performance decreases when we work for extended periods without a break. It is also true that a vacation from work and life improves our productivity, lowers stress and improves our mental health. Time away can also make us more creative and energetic. What makes a professional athlete perform at their very best on the field? A lot of practice, and then a period of rest. A hard work-out, and then a period of rest. The same routine holds true in our professional lives; when we work day after day, week after week, year after year, we need to take time to rest to be able to perform at our best.
They say we learn best not from our successes, but from our mistakes. My mistake was not taking a much needed vacation sooner. I am the person who has not made a true vacation a priority. I would take long weekends from time-to-time or work half of a week and then spend my time off at home taking care of items that needed attention there. Until spring break a few weeks ago, I have failed to truly disconnect and get away from the responsibilities of work and home to completely unwind and enjoy time with my family. This year, I got to enjoy warm weather, sunshine, a sandy beach, downtime and fun with my wife and kids. I didn’t realize how badly I needed that until it was over. When I returned to work, I did feel energized and renewed. I was also a bit happier too.
Whether you’ve been working at your job one year or ten, I encourage you to take time off. In all ways, it is necessary. Although it took me too long to figure out this truth, I know going forward I will make vacation more of a priority in my life. With summer on the horizon, think about what opportunities may be ahead to spend time with your family or friends, go camping, visit a national park, take in the beauty of northern Michigan or rent a cottage/cabin somewhere. Take the time and enjoy it, you’ll be a more energized, happy and efficient person when you return.