About three years ago, I had the good fortune to take on a work contract that meant a lot to me. The project had me working full-time and it was a great experience for many reasons. One of the small benefits from that time I find myself missing this week is mandatory vacation.
It might surprise you that for a few moments today I was missing working full-time for the vacation. Many people assume that when you work as an independent consultant you can take all the vacation you want, without submitting paperwork to a boss for approval. Yes, it is a wonderful perk to be able to flex my time around days when my children are ill or if there is a family wedding or special event on the calendar. But, there are seasons in which I actually find it a lot harder to designate extended periods of personal down time. Certainly, when you don’t work you don’t get paid, but more than that, there are occasions I find it difficult to protect the time I do carve out for myself.
As with many small businesses, I have a home office. So, my work is only steps away, calling to me anytime I have a few moments to spare. I've often said that doing what you love can be a double-edged sword. What can start out as leisurely reading a book or blog can very quickly turn into that inspiration which can be applied to a client's situation or project. And finally, there is that marvelous computer and mobile technology we rely on. During a vacation, I may want to use my phone to capture photos or send an email from my laptop to a friend or family member. It takes discipline (sometimes more than I have!) to ignore that red blinking light or a growing inbox with work-related messages.
As Christmas is getting closer with every minute, I'm realizing that this year I'm not going to accomplish everything on my pre-holiday "to do" list. But rather than using the holidays as an opportunity to catch up, I'm going to adopt a perspective of grace and remember the importance of vacation time. As a result, Blue Core Coaching is going to close its office between Dec. 23rd and Jan. 5th. (I may actually post a sign on my home office door!) Time to spend with family and friends, to rest, reflect and rejoice is something that I and every person deserves and can benefit from.
Thank you to our clients, friends and partners who have made 2014 a wonderful year. Wishing you a holiday filled with joy, love, laughter and gratitude.
Jen & Carolyn