As we approach August, and having recently taken some time off myself (some real time off this time – more on that experience in a different post) I thought it might be a good time to talk about the importance of vacation.
No – this isn’t going to be a post that waxes poetic about the importance of recharging and how the startup culture is totally fucked up in its crazy work ethic. All true, but I’d actually like to approach the question here from a purely business perspective.
For years I’ve encouraged startup execs (especially CEOs but this advice flows down the chain as well) to take time away. Completely away. No checking in once a day on email. No calling into the management standup. Just gone. If that’s a week, great. If you feel you can’t get away for that long, try a long weekend (but seriously – you can’t take a week off?). Just make yourself unavailable for a bit.
You’ll get some nice down time. But just as importantly, you’ll learn a lot about what isn’t working at your business and specifically where you’ve set yourself up as a bottleneck. What decisions don’t get made in your absence? What projects grind to a halt? Which managers step up and which are hand-tied without you around to bounce questions off?
Every CEO I know who has tried this has come back and made changes to how they manage their business based on what they learned through the experience. My guess is that you will as well.