Vacations are the change of scenery and change of space needed to relax. They're also great for freeing up enough space in your mind for new ideas. Distancing yourself from day-to-day work challenges (and possibly certain people) is important to a well-balanced life and business.
Because how you relax is as highly personal as your morning "get ready" routine, I'll spare you my tips. They won't work for you. No one knows better how to relax you than you. However, I do have tips on using time away to productively recharge by opening your mind to new ideas.
The best ideas come when you slow down. When you see the world for what it is and could be, you create an environment conducive to connecting abstract concepts and possibilities and to entertain the art of the possible for a while. Vacations do just that.
First and foremost, enjoy the time away. Our vacation days are too few and scattered. Cherish the time with friends and family or solo. You'll never regret it.
While you're away, consider trying these four things to create the mental space needed to spark new ideas.
- Up your curiosity. You're going to meet some memorable characters. Without fail, you interact with people you likely wouldn't otherwise on vacation. Taking a little time out to get curious with questions about their business (maybe in tourism, food, or other cultural activities) will provide a peek into another person's point of view. This may or may not have anything to do directly with the products or services you sell but you'll have a better grasp on the spectrum of people inhabiting the planet and possibly an interesting story to share when you get back.
- Start a new habit. Not necessarily Cuban cigars but I'm specifically thinking of a writing habit. There are oodles of studies on the benefits of regular writing, journaling, blogging, etc. Organizing your thoughts and getting them onto the screen (or paper if you're old school) helps you better know your values and priorities. Using a little quiet time on vacation to get a couple of sentences out each day (about whatever) can be the first steps in building a lasting, positive habit.
- Take a social break. I LOVE the zillion ways we have to see cute pictures of cats with Donald Trump's hair Photoshop-ed in....but not on vacation. Scrolling through ordinary updates dampers our ability to experience extraordinary things in the moment. That's the issue on the social media consumption side. On the sharing side, why not create a little mystery in your circles about what you're up to? Save your pictures and posts for one big post-vacation storyboard with some unpredictable pictures.
- Try something all-consuming. An adventure race like this, horseback riding (or anything with livestock for that matter), river running, surfing, driving in New Zealand, and navigating the dessert buffet line (at least for me) are all-consuming. To me, all-consuming means that it is impossible to multitask. The activity demands your full attention--or else it gets dangerous. These experiences are ideal for reminding yourself what it feels like to really focus and shut out all distractions to get something done.
So the goal isn't to put any pressure to come up with something amazing. Instead, embrace the opportunity to capture the ideas if and when they pop. To do that, jot them down in a notebook or using the dictation app on your phone and move on. Vacation isn't the time to start researching, getting feedback, testing, or anything else. Just capture them and keep going. The aim is to go back to work with less stress and more energy than when you left. Recharging is bringing a handful (or a lot!) of ideas back with you.
For a lot of business people--especially with many of our industries in constant state of change–vacations present a precious opportunity to look at the world a bit differently. This fresh perspective will undoubtedly generate ideas from "This is crazy. I'll just keep it to myself" to "This is crazy. It just might work." Using this time away to relax and recharge will make you and your business stronger and more productive.
No vacation scheduled? Check out these awesome ideas for inspiring vacations.