Taking Care of Business from Costa Rica (or Not)
The vacation continues with the best of business intentions. Before doing anything fun, we promise ourselves that we will get up every morning, boot up the computer, connect with the office and/or clients, and take care of business. When it doesn’t happen, guilt sets in along with frustration. At home, we take pride in being self-disciplined business owners. So why is it so hard to stay that way while on holidays?
Face it, we take vacations to get away and shut down. Our brains and bodies need it. The human being can only take so much stress and high-paced living before it rebels. We get sick, cranky, and become impossible to live with. In my opinion, work doesn’t get done on a vacation because we really don’t want to work. What we really do want is to play and relax. When we have a limited time for a vacation, it becomes imperative that we change out the routines of life and chill.
So, if you absolutely have to do some work while away, here are a few tips to help create efficiency without developing any guilt:
- Create a vacation business plan. Before leaving home, identify what you absolutely must do for your business on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Make a task list and prioritize the list. If you work from a list, there is a huge sense of satisfaction when you can cross items off. However, don’t make the tasks too onerous. You are on vacation, keep the business activities light and set a time limit.
- Slow yourself down. If you are anything like me, you move in high gear all the time. Our businesses and our world demand it from us. However, in Costa Rica and in other warm climates, it is easy to slip into a slow-moving pace. The heat definitely makes me slow down, as proven by the four naps I took each day for the first week! If you still find yourself trying to keep up with your usual ‘North American’ pace, take a look at the citizens of the country where you are visiting. In spite of the heat and a slower pace, they run successful businesses and make money. The Costa Rican people don’t understand why Americans and Canadians need to move so fast. I can’t figure it out either.
- Business Meditation. Travelling to a warm climate on holidays will give you lots of time to read. It is also lovely to put a book down and drift, letting the mind wander. Take time to ponder the sun, the cloud shapes, and flowers. Practice the art of quiet reflection. I know that some of my best business decisions have been made while on vacation. The answers to many of life’s problems don’t always arrive as lightening bolts. They often creep into the consciousness, softly. We just need to open our minds and de-clutter.
As business leaders, we are often so busy ‘doing,’ that we don’t take the time to reflect on what’s working or to quietly celebrate our successes. We rarely step back and look into our businesses. A well-deserved vacation is a win-win for entrepreneurs: you get the chance to unwind, and being away from the office lets you look at your business from a new perspective.