2017 was quite a year and we could all use a good break...
This post was written by Connie Ngo and originally appeared on the Planted Blog. Connie Ngo heads up Content Marketing at Planted. She studied marketing at Rutgers University and jumped industries a few times before realizing she was meant for the startup life.
When you join the startup life, you do it for the thrill of getting sh*# done and growing with a company. The daily, weekly, monthly grind is fast, demanding, and tiring -- but only if you don’t take care of yourself.
The holidays are a great time to take advantage of to fit in some well-needed R&R, because, you know, it’s a vacation. A time to recharge. But it’s easy for people working in startups to think about vacations as a time to catch up on all the work they didn’t get to yet.
Before you open up that laptop to sneak in a few emails, hold up! The last thing you should do during vacation is work. Taking a well-needed break is healthier for you mentally, and when you do come back from vacation, you’ll be refreshed and recharged instead of wearied and miserable. There’s a reason why “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”.
Below are some reasons why unplugging from the startup life during vacations can be a good thing.
Reason #1 - Ideas and projects have time to simmer
If you’re always thinking about work, this one’s for you. We know it’s hard to completely disconnect all thoughts about all the projects and deadlines that you’ll have to wrangle when you return to work, but the longer and more intensely you focus on a project, the less productive you’ll be with the same amount of effort over time.
Reason #2 - It gives you time to reflect
When you’re constantly going, going, going, it’s easy to lose track of yourself in and out of the office. Taking time off (properly) will give you some time to breathe and think about what you’ve been doing and whether you’re happy with what you’ve accomplished.
Seriously reassess your situation. This is your time to do it without the pressure of having to return to the office too soon.
Reason #3 - You can focus on your non-work relationships
Chances are, you see and interact with some of your coworkers more than your family and friends on a daily basis. And chances are, some of your coworkers have driven you crazy. It’s normal, especially when the team’s super tight knit and there’s pressure to perform well.
Compartmentalizing is a helpful and healthy way of staying sane when working at a startup. If you’re visiting your parents’ for the holidays or having dinner with a few friends, give them your attention. Unlike with your coworkers (who you’ll see and interact with on a normal basis anyway), you need to exert a little more effort to stay in touch with family and friends. Don’t forget about your life outside of work!
Reason #4 - Because you deserve it
When you’re working hard all year round, you’re just going to need a break. Think of vacation as a reward for your good efforts at work. No one’s going to (or should ) punish you for unplugging from work at least once in a while, especially during holidays when other folks will be out of office too.
Go out to a cafe and enjoy that coffee “to stay”, or just stay in and catch up on a favorite show or book. Spend your time as you want it. It’s your vacation, after all! And when you start looking at time off as a reward, it can help you rationalize “doing nothing” or focusing on non-work-related things.
But sometimes you just can’t help it
We get it -- the startup life means the boundaries between your work and personal lives are kind of blurred, and sometimes you’ve just really gotta meet a deadline before you sign off for the holidays.
When it comes down to that, though, limit the work that you do during vacation to that one project or task. Because once you go down the rabbit hole and start answering emails and getting that one last thing done, you’re taking away time from yourself that you can’t get back.
Unplugging from work during a vacation or holidays is an important thing to do in the startup life, where longer hours and fast-paced work can add pressure and stress to your day-to-day. By giving yourself the opportunity to decompress once in a while, you’re maximizing your productivity for longer periods of time.