Why I Work When On Holiday?
Many of my friends and family think there is something is wrong with me because I work on holiday. When I have talked to them it is because for them work is work, and home is home and holiday’s are holidays – all thoughts relating to them are very neatly organised in their very own seperate boxes. Putting things in boxes can be a great strategy and it definitely works for many situations. In fact it works for Mark my husband.
But for me as an entrepreneur who created a business that gave me flexibility to work around the needs of my family – I soon learned that I had to rewrite the rule book around what worked for me, my family and my clients. I had to be and wanted to be more flexible and adaptable. I couldn’t work 9am -5pm and be available for my children when they were younger so I soon learned how to dip in and out of my work to suit the needs of my clients without compromising the needs of my family.
I love my work. It gives me a sense of purpose and value. Being a good working mum means for me work, home and holiday often all blend into one.
Its actually more stressful for me to try and switch work thoughts off so instead I talk with my family and friends to understand what they need from me. I am someone that wakes early which can give me a couple of hours spare before anyone else gets up. This is an ideal opportunity to blog and check emails. I should point out that I generally only do tasks I love like writing and planning while on holiday. Other more basic admins are usually covered by my team. But emails for example it is much easier to check and delete emails every couple of days than to wade my way through thousands on my return.
What I have found works is not talking to my family about the emails in a negative way. If I am complaining about work then they are more likely to want to persuade me not to work.
Work is like a holiday
Travelling for many only happens when they go on holiday but I have created a business that allows me to travel. I get to run retreats for a living so I get to share time with wonderful people who are creating amazing change in the world. I get to travel to wonderful locations all of which often mean I get the many benefits of holiday – new locations and new people. And for some that only happens a few weeks of the year where as I get to do it quite a lot.
Changing space – Renewed Energy
When I am in a new space I find it refreshing and that recharges my passion to make a difference. That said I am really good at building in down time when I am away working and more recently Mark has started to join me.
Work and holiday
This opposite to this means that when I am holiday I build in some work time too. It might be as simple as planning time to check emails or time out to write or time to plan.
It just doesn’t work for me to seperate them and put them into boxes. When I am chilled and rested the best ideas come up for me and I gain so much clarity that I love capturing those thoughts in the moment.
I usually work when others might read or watch TV. It works because I am doing what I want. I am not working because I have too I am working because I want to. I love what I do.
For Mark my husband it is different. He very much switches off from his work and loves his down time. At home he cycles regularly and has his favourite series on TV.
My work is more fluid and I have times when the work I do is high intensity e.g when I am running a retreat and holding space and listening for 5 days straight and there are other times when I am supporting my one to one clients by email, blogging and generally running the business. These are the times when my work benefits greatly when I flow from socialising and relaxing into the creative and planning side of the work I do.
I have consciously created a business that allows me to work in rhythym with my home life. I have set my diary up to only work face to face with clients 9 months a year. Usually giving me April, August and December off from customer facing work.
However the only time this doesn’t work is when I am with people wh0 think it is wrong to work on holiday. This can trigger my critic and theirs. I get torn between doing what feels right for them and doing what is right for me.
Over the years the only way I can make this work is to have absolute clarity of what I want being sure to do only the work I love and ensure that when I talk about working I refer to it as a pleasure not a chore.
So long as I say how important it is to me and I reassure them that it is not putting me under pressure it is simply how I like to be, then generally it works.
And sometimes they don’t want me to work. They have a rule that says work and holiday are seperate and my working makes them feel uncomfortable. That might be for all kinds of reasons – sometimes when I have asked them it has been because they feel guilty for not working while I am. Sometimes it is becuause they assume if I don’t switch off 100% I will be stressed.
The key is to ask questions and understand what they would like to have happen and be really clear what works for you so that you can achieve an outcome that allows everyone to have what they want.
This couldn’t happen if I didn’t take time to:
1. Plan in advance and really think about what kind of holiday or break I wanted.
2. Understand what my family and friends expectations are of me on holiday
3. Communicate to my family that I love working and it is not a chore
4. Be absolutely sure I do want to work and it is not a case of thinking I have to.
What are your thoughts about holiday and work?
Please share your experiences below.
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Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening, is well known for her fast speaking and her passion to make things happen. But what many of you may not know is that in private behind closed doors she was also no stranger to lapses in self belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough.
That was until she learned the importance of being heard and asking for support. In her book she describes the step by step journey she took to learn how to manage her critic turning her overwhelm into clarity in 7 steps.
Sheryl now runs retreats that encourage you to really listen to what you need to work, learn and live at your best with others and the confidence to ask for those needs to be met.
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