A holiday is simply not an option!

Many of the MDs and CEOs we work with in the IT and technology sector often mention the dilemma inherent in the summer holiday season. Can I afford to take the time off?

Many of the MDs and CEOs we work with in the IT and technology sector often mention the dilemma of the summer holiday season – the need to and yet the difficulty of taking a well-earned break!  As the critical spoke in the organisation, what happens if I disappear for two weeks?  Is it even feasible?  Everything goes through me.  I know I have a team around me but... I’m a bottleneck…I’m the buzz, the glue, the motivation, the energy, the boss…I’ll just come back to mayhem.  Therefore, is it even worth it?

We agree with one thing – “a holiday is simply not an option”.  It’s a must!  For busy MDs and CEOs in the tech sector we think it’s counter-intuitive to think any different.  Here is why:

Why a holiday is a must!

  • You value work-life balance for your staff.  You see the difference when they take a break and return, full of energy, beans, creative juices and persistence that was perhaps a little lacking in the run up to their break.  That will be you! 
  • Can you afford not to?  Health, family and friends are more important than what you are trying to build. Sure, you know that too but perhaps it’s our old friend ‘ego’ that gets in the way.  After all, are you really that indispensable?   Will it really fall apart?  Are you really the only glue that keeps it moving?  In the unlikely situation that you are, that’s a different issue.
  • Relax!  This technology stuff works!  Office365, Gmail, Skype, Marketing Automation.  You might be out of the office but if your ego gets the better of you a brief check-in over your morning espresso will set your fears at ease.  Customers either don’t know or don’t care that are operating from abroad. 
  • Benefit from the clarity of being outside looking in!  By taking time away from the business you take your head out of the trees, get to read that book you always wanted to and without known it your subconscious does the rest.  You will be amazed with the amount of clarity and energy you will have when you go back to work, more productive in the first day back compared to the previous two weeks!
  • In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey evangelised the need for us to sharpen the saw, i.e. cultivate the greatest asset we have (oneself!) and that only we can make sure this happens! It is similar to the high performing Dublin football team that always change and rest their key players as it is impossible to keep going at optimal levels day after day.  Take time to rest and come back to the pitch full of energy and focus.  
  • Lack of a holiday and a break more often leads to poor mental wellbeing, poor business decisions, illness, colds and a general below par performance meaning even more things to be done and less time out. It becomes a vicious circle. 
  • Like most MDs and CEOs, if you have plans to exit the business at some point it’s a good trial to see how it goes when you are M.I.A for two weeks. There is no point in starting to plan your exit when you are 65!  You need to put the structures in place. You need to be able to ‘fire’ yourself and cause no damage to your company.  Try the two-week holiday test this year and if it goes smoothly, reward yourself with three weeks next year! 
  • Put a plan in place for when you are away.  An obvious one but it often doesn’t happen meaning you don't switch off. 
  • If two weeks is really too daunting then start taking long weekends over the bank holidays.  Try never to have to say “Nothing much” when somebody asks you “What did you do the weekend?”
  • Think of holiday time as an investment!  An investment in yourself so that you can give your company the most over its lifetime!

Joe O’Reilly is Managing Director with www.boostyoursales.ie, a sales, marketing and business mentoring services company for growth-focused IT and tech services companies in Dublin, Leinster and beyond!

Photo by Ragnar Vorel on Unsplash.