The Importance of Taking Time OFF This Holiday Season

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“The art of doing nothing is really something” (My cats: Starbucks and NASDAQ - are masters of this art)

Think about it: when was the last time you took time off, and did NOTHING? If you are anything like me, it’s been a long time. In this Digital Age, it’s very hard to “turn off” our connections to our job, friends, and the world.  That makes it extra hard for people to take some real time off.  Sure, it is super to be efficient and productive, but we all have to draw a line somewhere.  After all, we are not machines. I’m not talking here about morphing into my cats, who sleep 17 hours a day. I’m just saying: take a BREAK. 

This holiday season, I took two days off (today I’m sick, but that doesn’t count as time off, due to the sheer misery of being sick). While I admit checking email once or twice a day, I generally got to switch off - because it is the SEASON where everyone switches off. Collectively, during this period we get a rare chance at real time off: to focus on ourselves, and on our friends and families.  

I highly recommend to you, if you are off right now, or about to take a day off around New Years Eve, to try to do what I did: SWITCH OFF. Only then can you truly take full advantage of your time off.

In the end, it will pay off for work purposes, too. Clearing your mind is not only good for reducing all the stress that you accumulate during everyday life, but it is also useful in terms of taking a step back and re-assessing what you are doing and what direction you are undertaking. I work for a start-up, and it’s been go, go, GO for four months - so I really needed a break. I can tell you that a lot of new ideas came to me while I was vacationing.  Once you “take out the trash” mentally, and have a clean slate to think on, you will be amazed at the ideas and creativity that comes out.

This particular break - one less over-booked with things to do, and with more time to think and read - was really not about quantity of time - since we’re only talking about a couple of days - but about QUALITY of time.  I recently took more time off to go to NY, but that was not as relaxing as just these two simple evenings of relaxed and disconnected joy (the spa appointments helped, too).  Like I said, make sure you disconnect completely and do something that is soothing and easy.  

Yes: technology is a blessing.  We can work 24/7 via the Internet.  But, it doesn’t mean that we have to.  Make it a habit to include time away from work, bills, and all that stress within your own life - to recharge your soul. That’s my personal number one goal for 2011. 

Happy new year!
 - Keren

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