True story: I just took my kids to Florida for spring break. We were gone for a whole week, which included five weekdays. And Monday through Friday, I worked.
And I’m not sorry.
Now, it’s not like I neglected my children and spent the vacation with a phone glued to my face (or thumbs). On the contrary, we laughed, played, swam, ate, and lounged together all week. But every day when they woke up, I had already put in between two and four hours of work.
Why I’ll Never (Completely) Unplug**
**I am exaggerating. I have been known to ditch the devices and go completely off the grid. But it’s rare.
First of all, let’s be candid: Some of it is simply my own fear of failure. Will my business come crashing down because I leave it alone for a week? No. Will I feel the cold nibble of worry at the back of my skull every single day of the week unless I’m checking up on it like a new parent with a sick infant? Yes. I’m not apologizing for it – that fear of failure is part of what motivates me to work hard. It’s just my issue.
But there’s more to it than that. Here are another few reasons I never quite unplug, even when I’m on vacation:
For owners and sellers, there is no paid vacation. Sure, I can take as much time away from work as I want to. But part of running your own business, be it an enterprise or a territory, is that when you’re out of the business, you’re not driving your own paycheck. And that feels like unpaid vacation to me, so I don’t take very much of it. So, yeah, I felt good about clocking in for at least part of every workday.
Wait, am I still talking about my fear of failure? Possibly.
I have the time. As far as my kids knew, I checked my phone a few times during the week and took a couple of calls during the drive home (yes, we road-tripped). I’m fortunate because my kids need more sleep than me, and I use the time to my advantage.
My clients are friends. If one of your friends needed you while you were on vacation, would you say, “Sorry, I’ll deal with you next Monday”? Neither would I.
That doesn’t mean my clients peppered me with calls all week. Remember, we’re friends! They knew I was on vacation, were gracious enough to fit our calls into my available windows, and used discretion before reaching out to me out of respect for my family time. We played it like friends do.
I love what I do. I’m grateful to get to do work I enjoy and excel at – not everyone has that privilege. So working a little bit every day is almost like getting to indulge in a hobby. This blog post is a great example of that – writing is a creative outlet, and it doesn’t feel like work.
I like money. Yeah, I said it – making money is fun. A couple of years ago, I closed a $30K deal while on a cruise ship. You think that didn’t make for a merrier trip?
The Point: Be Intentional!
Everyone has their own definition of work/life balance, and not everyone’s definition is the same. Mine happens to involve a little work every day, just like it involves brushing my teeth, remembering to be grateful, and laughing.
What’s important is, I’m conscious of why I feel the need to work while I’m on vacation, and I’ve managed to create a system that works for everyone. Everyone’s happy. And isn’t that sort of the point?
So find your own version of work/life balance, be intentional about pursuing it, and ignore the haters.