photo-1465982550686-d37d97e28e88Those that know me best know I thrive on routine.

I love the schedule I’ve created for myself and I hate anything that gets in the way of it. Vacations are the worst! I have to take time away from doing what I love to deal with TSA and the airport, to sit on a cramped plane, to sleep in a bed I’m not used to, and… relax. It’s awful.

The worst part about vacations is admitting how great I feel during and after. I do end up having a good time, feeling refreshed, and acknowledging that I needed the break. I always get tons of reading done, catch up on my sleep, let my body recover from the daily wear and tear, and finally return home refreshed and ready to hustle again.

I know some people reading this already have their next vacation planned. Some might even have their next five vacations planned. Those people don’t need any of my advice on this topic. You guys are awesome. Keep it up. I suspect the vast majority aren’t in that camp.

Most of the people I talk to are like me. It’s been years since they’ve taken a trip. Work, family, and financial obligations continue to get in the way and they never make it happen. While all those reasons are totally valid, you still need to make a vacation a priority.

Every aspect of your life will improve when you give yourself a little time off.

You’ll have more energy day to day, you’ll be more productive at work, you’ll be a better spouse and family member, and your body will get some much needed rest.

Vacations aren’t an expense. They are an investment. One that always pays massive dividends.

This past weekend I went to a wedding for a family member out of state. Not the most relaxing trip ever, but it was still time away from my normal life in a place without my normal distractions. I didn’t do any sightseeing or anything touristy. Mostly, I just stayed in the hotel room and read. It was a perfect getaway for me. Now I’m home and energized even after the trip home. I have tons of ideas in my mind I’m ready to put into action, and rather than putting off writing this newsletter as long as possible, I’m doing it the night before. Those few days off re-inspired me.

For everyone already making excuses about why they can’t take any time off, here is are a few responses to the most common excuses I hear.

I don’t have enough time for a vacation.

Vacations don’t need to be a huge time investment. You don’t need to take a week or 10 days off. I’ve found a day or two is plenty as long as one of those days has zero obligations. No side trips. No special reservations or appointments. Just a day off. Don’t check your work email or take phone calls. Just unplug for at least 24 hours. Leave Friday after work, relax all day Saturday, return on Sunday. Done. There’s nothing wrong with longer trips if you can manage, but don’t let the time required hold you back from enjoying some time off.

I hate travelling.

Vacations don’t need to be far away. Most people can drive an hour in at least one direction and end up in a different town that has a hotel you can stay in. The distance isn’t the deciding factor, it’s getting away from your life. Some say you can vacation at home, but I think that’s nonsense. The goal is to get away from your normal. Get away from your habits and your chores. You need to be far enough away that you can’t get up and take care of a to-do item.

Vacations cost too much.

Vacations don’t need to be expensive. I like staying in nice hotels as much as anyone, but there are plenty of clean, decent hotels that aren’t very expensive. If you’re within driving distance of your destination, you can EASILY take a two or three day vacation for $200-$300. It might be a little bit of a hassle to find someone to watch your kids or take care of your pets, but it’s totally doable. Set aside $5-$10 per day and in a couple of months, you’ll have plenty for a quick trip.

The vacation described above is a quick trip away from home simply to recharge. It’s the absolute minimum. These short trips should be taken at least every six months. If you can afford a longer, more expensive trip to some far off land, more power to you. Those are amazing trips as well. Take all of those you can afford to. But as a bare minimum, take a few weekends off per year and get some much needed rest.

Even if you hate vacations as much as I do, I’m confident you’ll be glad you took one when you return home.

Your in health,

Brian