01 May Should You Take a Summer Vacation?
I am working long hours, building a new company this summer and committing myself to startup life. While others are taking off early, going swimming and golfing and traveling, I’m sitting in my office, planning for the future, hiring great leaders and making sure we are set up to grow and succeed at the highest levels. I owe this to our investors, to our team, and to our customers.
Yet, at the end of August, I’ll be going to Paris for a week with my family on a summer vacation. I’ll be shutting off my cell phone and relaxing and recharging with my loved ones, away from the world at home. I’ll be available in “emergencies” but generally, intentionally, not checking in our businesses.
Is that a good idea or a bad one? Should you take a summer vacation? In order to help answer that, I asked 11 members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs – what their plans are for summer vacations, and why or why not. Here’s what they told me:
1. Not Specifically
I’ve worked to build in micro-vacations all year long, so I don’t necessarily need to take a “summer” vacation. One of the best parts of being an entrepreneur is flexibility of schedule. I attend a lot of conferences and meet-up events around the U.S. Each time I make sure to add a few days just to relax, visit with friends and explore new cities after events. - Patrick Conley, Founder / Chief Automator, Automation Heroes
2. Yes: to Relax and Think
I have found vacations to be one of the most helpful exercises as an entrepreneur. Having a few days to relax and refresh allows me to re-energize. More importantly, I come up with my best ideas for future business development and growth during a few days off. - David Schwartz, CEO/Partner, EMMDeavor (DBA Qruber) & Wireless Watchdogs
3. Yes: I Make it a Priority
Taking a nice long summer vacation helps me detach from the business to renew, and also to start seeing the forest for the trees. There is nothing worse than working nonstop and realizing years later that you really shouldn’t have built the business the way you did. It’s depressing. Do everything you can to have time to introspect. - Rob Fulton, Founder, Matikis
4. Yes: a Workation
5. Yes: It’s Required
My last “vacation” spawned my newest venture. You need to get away for as long as possible. It took me over four weeks before I was really able to separate myself from my business. But when I came back after 10 weeks of vacation, I truly felt rested. - Matt Ames, CEO & President, MN Pro Paintball
6. Yes: a Tech-Free One
Entrepreneurs often say, “I can’t take a vacation this year because work is crazy.” Well, it probably is, but it’s not going anywhere. Whether you’re married or single, you need a holiday to hit the reset button. And to make it a truly cleansing experience, it should be a tech-free one. This is uncomfortable for most of us, but just delegate, go and don’t check emails! - Grant Gordon, President, Solomon Consulting Group
7. Yes: Absolutely!
Every year during the summer I take an entire month off. I deserve it, because I work my tail off the other 11 months of the year. And the whole reason I started my own company is because I wanted the freedom that comes with entrepreneurship. If I didn’t, I would go insane. This entrepreneur stuff is hard! - Maren Hogan, Chief Marketing Brain, Red Branch Media
8. Yes: Digital Detox Time
I have spent a lot of time developing an amazing team who I trust to keep the business moving forward when I’m not around. In the summer I like to take 3-4 weeks of digitally disconnected bliss to play in the sun, read, write and re-evaluate. This year I’ll spend my time in Europe, and I’ll be doing a one-week retreat that confiscates all phones and computers. - Natalie MacNeil, CEO, She Takes on the World
9. Yes and No
I’m going places with my family over the summer, but I’m never far from my phones. Technology has allowed me to work anywhere and work all the time, which means I can easily travel away from my office and still have access to the office everywhere. I probably need to get better at setting boundaries. - Ty Morse, CEO, Songwhale
10. Yes: to See the Bigger Picture
I tend to shut down for one week in summer and one week in winter. Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates had their famous reading weeks where they would take off and just read for a week to drive inspiration and ideas. Essentially, everyone needs to take a step back to see the bigger picture. And a week of vacation gives you invaluable perspective on what is important for your work and life. - Ashish Rangnekar, CEO & Co-founder, BenchPrep
11. No: Too Much Business
Let me clarify: Even though I agree with the concept of vacations and that they are necessary to recharge, summer months are when most of the selling happens and it is important to make them count. A day or two here or there is fine but several weeks can be a stretch. I am a bigger fan of taking longer breaks around Christmas time, when no business gets done anyway. - Karan Chaudhry, CEO, DropThought