Why I achieve more by taking a proper break

I need a holiday. 

I know that is a phrase people use a lot. If you’re American, or some other nationality where vacations are your preferred terminology, then I apologise. I’ll be holidaying all the way through this post and beyond.

IMG_1032

I genuinely don’t understand people who don’t use all their annual leave. Especially in places where you get two weeks a year. I’d emigrate. Seriously. I was all set to move to a job in Canada until I realised I’d only get that much time off a year. A regular break allows you to rest. Recharge. Come back stronger and more creative than ever, in both your personal and business pursuits.

Anyway, I always want a holiday. Most people do. In a world where global travel is easier than ever, it’s a dream that is always tantalisingly in reach. But I’ve also reached that point where I know when I need one. The two things are very distinct. Needing one comes when the alternative is curling up into a ball each morning unable to face the prospect of another day of ‘stuff’.

When I need a holiday, anything that takes effort becomes ‘stuff’. Working out. Reading. Getting up. Brushing my teeth… Luckily, my requirements for a break are very simple:

No real connection with the outside world, other than emergency communication. Any tweets / blogposts to fill the gap are prescheduled. Wifi is a curse on holiday, not a blessing.

Some sun and sea is always nice.

I always gravitate to the ocean

I always gravitate to the ocean

Having someone cook for me. I love to cook, and I do all the cooking in this house, so having someone prepare meals for me always feels like a treat.

Time to read. Oh how I wish I had more time to read. I love being able to binge read on holiday.

Time to write. Specifically, time to come up with ideas. To brainstorm. To invent interesting characters and devious plots. To reconnect with the enjoyment of writing, rather than the business strategy that comes with it. Writing longhand in a cool notebook under a palm tree. Occasionally while channeling Hemingway with the alcohol to go with it…

Did I mention the sun?

Sleep, with no alarm. I tend to still wake before 7am on holiday, but I love being able to come round to a natural gentle alertness, rather than the bloody marimba ringtone on my iPhone.

European coffee. Let’s face it, it’s better than anything in any English-pretending-to-be-American-pretending-to-be-Italian coffee chain. You know who you are. Actual Italian coffee. Venice was particularly nice.

Venice

I think they are all perfectly good reasons. I also think we’re living in a world where stopping and taking time for yourself is increasingly put on the back burner, something you can get round to doing later. It’s one of the reasons why, in the western world, we’re raising a generation that is unlikely to outlive its parents, no matter what the miracles are in modern medicine. Don’t count on being able to get a bionic version by the time you need it. It might not be there. Don’t believe me? Where are those hover boards we were promised, huh?

If you value yourself, think about it. Give yourself a chance to do so much more, by occasionally doing so much less.

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