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How do you manage the guilty feeling you get when you go on vacation?

Am always struggling to keep myself from feeling like I need to constantly work on my companies or projects. I like the opportunity vacations provide to recharge and learn new things but sometimes feel guilty that perhaps I am not sacrificing enough or doing enough to keep my ventures growing. I feel this may be the only forum this sentiment can be understood. :)

21 Replies

Phillip Cohen
6
0
Phillip Cohen Advisor
President, Cohen Architectural Woodworking
I'm writing while in the middle of a two week vacation in southern Mexico. I used to struggle with that, but here's how I see it:
I have daily disciplines, such as quiet time, reading, journaling, and exercise that keep me charged. When I get to a place where my batteries won't hold a charge, it's time for a prolonged time off.
If I've given myself honestly to my business, I have no reason to feel guilty. Guilt is draining. I can't recharge while guilt is draining me. If I'm drained, I can't give my best to my business.
I had a close business owner friend who let himself get so drained it ended in his suicide. Drained people make bad decisions and destroy their health, sanity, and family. They set a bad model for their employees.
I usually need two weeks for vacation. It takes the first week for all my fears, stresses, and guilt to wind down. I just let them play out.
Most of my best inspiration for my business and life happens when I take time off and get away. It also gives my employees opportunities to step up,which gradually makes the team stronger.
I don't know if you're a Christian. If so, the Bible tells us to enjoy our sabbaths.
I could write more, but I'm sure others have some great insights too.


David Still
0
0
David Still Advisor
Founder of Start-ups, Entrepreneur, Financier and Advisor

Never feel guilty for taking a vacation and never work on a vacation. A working vacation is an oxymoron. If you feel guilty for taking a vacation, then you need to seek psychiatric help. Your life is more important than your job. Believe me, I know.

1
1
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Entrepreneur
There's a thought that intellectuals don't take vacations, they take sabbaticals where they think about things they are unable to think about in the grind of the day-to-day. I have a a pile of books that would improve my long-term outlook that I am unable to get to in the day to day struggle to see another day. I'd bring one of those along. Vacations in their ordinary sense are for postal workers.

David Still
1
1
David Still Advisor
Founder of Start-ups, Entrepreneur, Financier and Advisor
Igor, you are crazy.
David Still
0
0
David Still Advisor
Founder of Start-ups, Entrepreneur, Financier and Advisor

No book ever comes to the rest home or your funeral. Your friends and families do. "Happiness is love - hard stop." George Eman Vaillant,Triumphs of Experience (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press-Harvard University Press, 2012)

Gabor Nagy
0
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Gabor Nagy Entrepreneur
Founder / Chief architect at Skyline Robotics
I have a similar "issue": My projects are so exciting that that I'm obsessed with them and I can't imagine not working on them.
So, it's not so much a "guilt" thing, more like I get "antsy" / annoyed, if I can't work on them.
But, the end result is the same: I have to force myself to relax.
The way I deal with it is by tricking my brain to relaxing. Rather than thinking of work / non-work as a black/white "binary switch", I use an "analog scale".
When I relax, I might watch a YouTube video that is entertaining, but related to my projects, so I relax, but learn stuff at the same time.
When I go for a walk, or ride my bike, I can still think about new engineering solutions, but in a way that relaxes my mind and I get some exercise.
Actually, that's when I have the best ideas, when I'm away from the computer...
As for actual vacations, when I have to be away from my lab / office and "toys" for days or weeks: they drive me crazy. I've always hated vacations (ever since I was a kid).
Bottom line: if you feel actual guilt, don't! Think of it this way: if you let your brain relax, you will be more productive when you do get back to work!
If it's more like an "I get antsy if I'm not making progress on my work" kind of feeling, you can use the "analog scale" approach.

KAREN EGAN
1
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KAREN EGAN Entrepreneur
CFO / CoFounder GETFUNDED
There's a mom saying that "if mama ain't happy, nobody is" and I think that also applies to business owners. The same rule applies with the airlines; in an emergency parents must put their oxygen masks on first before they can help their kids. Business owners live, eat and breathe their companies every day and they too need oxygen before they can help their team.
David Albert
1
0
David Albert Entrepreneur • Advisor
Founder & Principal at GreyGoo
Shaker, you're not alone. If it makes you feel any better, I was coding while glancing up at the Super Bowl tonight.

Despite tonight's Monday deadline, I've been an entrepreneur for the last 20 years and I've consistently found when I allowed myself to bring balance in my life, allowed myself to disengage during that vacation, to live "in the moment" when spending time with family and friends, I not only prospered but was happy as well. I look at business as a series of sprints--run hard, slow down, take a break. Run hard again. If you run hard constantly you're not going to be effective for anyone, most of all yourself. Hustle, hustle, hustle, but also realize when you're just not being effective and acknowledge you need a well-deserved break.
Zohar Hirshfeld
2
0
Zohar Hirshfeld Advisor
Sr. Director Business Operations, Product Globalization and Chief of Staff for Central Engineering
You should change your point of view on guilty... if you don't take vacation, over time you become less productive and less innovative. You should always take your mind off of work in order to allow yourself to later view your work with a fresh breath. Many times when you get back to work you come up with new ideas how to be more efficient or how to accomplish better things. Taking vacation is not only good for you, but good for your employer.
Phillip Cohen
0
0
Phillip Cohen Advisor
President, Cohen Architectural Woodworking
Karen Egan,
There's also a leader saying, "Everyone wins when the leader gets better."
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