Much like Wash, Rinse, Repeat, we think it should be Produce, Vacation, Repeat
Sheila needed a vacation and she told everyone, “I really need a break.” She then went on a cruise to Alaska. While on the cruise –she broke her arm! -I know that that wasn’t what she intended. Yet her words predicted that she was in a zone where she was likely to incur problems.
In his book Business Growth by Design, Michael Walsh* identifies three energy zones.
- He calls the First Zone Clarity and Creativity, and states that here, “you are on top of your game. This is when productive brainstorming can occur, and new initiatives (or new solutions to previous problems) unfold. Productive thinking done (here)… leads to the second.”
- The Second Zone is Task Accomplishment. “You start tackling those issues and tapping those opportunities.”
- The Third Zone is The Problem Zone. As your energy starts to wane and you get tired, you start encountering more problems…. The problems are more plentiful, and the road is a little more difficult to travel.”
Walsh says that the secret to increase the effectiveness is to take more time off between Zone Two and Zone Three.
Implement a strategy to resolve what didn’t work and leverage what worked.
A recent study from Project: Time off (sponsored by the travel industry) would agree. The study reported that Americans taking all or most of their vacation days to get out of town report dramatically higher rates of happiness than those using little or none of their time for travel. Jill Schlesinger, CFP, Chicago Tribune, August 21, 2018
Walsh notes that, more and more, we are not paid for the time we spend but for the results that we achieve. Consequently, Walsh takes off 19 weeks a year to re-energize and return to Zone One and Two, while growing both his business and his margin.
Michael Roach, author of The Diamond Cutter didn’t take a week-long vacation. Instead he tells of taking one day off a week to pursue his spiritual avocation while working for a diamond broker. He was paid for only four days a week until he brought back an idea that improved the efficiency of his employer’s operation exponentially. After that he was paid for all five days. Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally, The Dimond Cutter, Penguin Random House, 2009
Serena Williams successfully plays hours of top tennis by using the “Tennis Strategy” of momentarily resting, re-energizing, (or taking a mini-vacation) between shots.
In short, schedule and actually take vacations that will energize you before your energy starts to wane.
Here are 7 suggestions that make a week-long vacation successful instead of just a break:
- Sync vacation time to when your clients are taking their vacation time (Thanksgiving, Christmas to New Year’s, and the weeks with three-day holidays throughout the year).
- Plan a vacation out of town. It allows you to avoid distractions, both business and personal.
- Alert clients and other stakeholders two weeks early that you will be gone, and what your plan is to ensure service to them while you are away.
- Prepare a detailed list of what is needed to be ready to go while you are away and do it before you leave.
- Plan and do vacation activities that energize you. These can be of the mental, physical, spiritual, or emotional variety. Focus on those things that will fill your energy buckets.
- When you return, debrief what you accomplished while you are away and what worked or didn’t work in your business.
- Implement a strategy to resolve what didn’t work and leverage what worked.
*Michael G. Walsh, Business Growth by Design, Kaizen Consulting Services, Inc. Vancouver, 2010, P. 60-61.