3 Lessons From A Vacation That Helped Balance Work/Life.

Have you ever taken a vacation day, or week, and worked some of it when you were supposed to be with family or friends? If so, whether you are employed by another or are self employed, I hope my personal experience gives you something to think about with summer approaching.

Per Dictionary.com, vacation is defined as “a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel.” Yet I recently read a LinkedIn posting that stated Americans forfeited over “705 million vacation days last year” and they are taking less vacation than people 30 years ago.

Why? The article cited they “worry about how people [will] perceive them at work.” Yet what do your family and friends think when you don’t take time off to spend with them? And when you do take time off, are you constantly checking work emails, texts, and voicemails?

Allow me to share a valuable lesson I learned with my own family during a Spring Break vacation a few years ago:

My wife and I took our family to visit our hometown, so they could see where we grew up as well as do some local sightseeing. At the time, I was an executive responsible for overseeing a customer that was #1 in several product lines. Per Murphy’s Law, there was a major issue with them that started one month before our trip that was not resolved by the time our trip began.

Upon starting our vacation, I did not count how many times I pulled my phone out to check it. My wife did count though. When we got back to the hotel the first day she said, “Please hand me your phone.” I asked, “Why?” She said, “I will tell you once you give it to me.” I gave her my phone, and then learned a very valuable lesson about work/life balance!

To my recollection, she said, “You pulled out your phone 16 times today. This is supposed to be family time. You travel over 100,000 miles per year on planes and live in hotels while we are at home. What about us? When do we get your attention?” Then, very passionately, she uttered, “We need you to be 100% PRESENT, not just physically present!”