I looked at my benefits package and my heart sank: a lousy two weeks of vacation. Dreams of Spanish wine and French cheese slowly left my head as I realized I would be stuck in New York for most of the year.
When I started my own business, I knew I'd never wanted to go back to feeling trapped in my work. Since becoming an entrepreneur, one lesson I've learned is that if you manage your time correctly, you can work less hours, accomplish more and even get rid of the concept of vacation.
Here's how as an entrepreneur I've made life one big vacation:
I don't work on the weekends.
When I tell people I run two businesses they usually assume I spend my weekends working. I don't. I log off on the weekends and go have fun. This includes, but is not limited to, seeing friends, taking day trips, binging Netflix, reading, or doing a million other things not related to work. Sure, many entrepreneurial motivational quotes will tell you that you need to be hustling 24/7, but in my experience that's the best way to burnout, wreck your health, and only perform at 50 percent. Because I take my weekends off, when Monday rolls around I'm recharged and ready to work with full plower.
I plan work-cations.
Right now, I'm in Oslo, Norway. Everyone on my Instagram feed thinks I'm on vacation, but in reality, I've been working the entire time while squeezing in fun tourist activities on the nights and weekends. I haven't had a vacation in years, but since starting my business have traveled to over 15 countries.
When I travel, I travel for longer stretches of time and bring my laptop with me. Going for longer periods of time helps me see amazing things while also getting work accomplished. Sometimes, I'll take an occasional day or afternoon off for some sightseeing. With this day-to-day flexibility, I haven't needed an extended vacation in over 2.5 years.
I don't have a rigid work schedule.
The internet is filled with productivity articles. Most of them sound great in theory, like "wake up at 4:30am to squeeze in a workout" or "drink Soylent to save time on meals!", but in reality these things suck to do in practice. My productivity secret is that I work when I feel productive and I when I don't, I don't.
My daily schedule looks like this. I wake up in the morning and the moment coffee hits my blood, I'm ready to power through about a few hours of work riding my caffeine high. After I tackle a good chunk of work, I'll go to the gym or run errands. Then I'm back to the office for another work sprint. After I've accomplished my task list, I'll head to dinner with a friend or do something fun offline. Later when I'm home, I'll do another work sprint for a few hours until I'm tired enough to go to bed. Working in sprints helps me accomplish more and work less hours.
There are many ways to incorporate vacation into your everyday entrepreneurial life. Avoiding work on the weekends, having a flexible schedule and planning foreign work-cations help me feel like I'm always on vacation--and might be able to help you too.