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The Absolute WORST Day to Take a Vacation (It’s Not When You Think!)

The Absolute WORST Day to Take a Vacation (It’s Not When You Think!)

    I need a vacation.

    For the last couple of months, I’ve been working like crazy getting my book ready for publication, and laying all the groundwork to promote it. I coordinated with my 30 contributing authors to get their chapters polished and ready, I got the books designed, printed, and then shipped out to reviewers, and I’ve written dozens of guest posts to help spread the word.

    Not to mention producing two video trailers, putting together a sweet launch offer, coordinating with reviewers… and doing everything I have to do as part of day-to-day client work.

    All to say that I’m tired, and I could use a break.

    And the book is done, launched last week – isn’t it time for me to be able to kick back and enjoy the fruits of my labor?

    When You’re Supposed to Take a Vacation

      The prevailing wisdom states that our lives should follow a pattern that looks more or less like the one depicted to the right;

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      1. We choose a new goal – something that is important to us, that we’re willing to put time and energy into achieving.
      2. We work towards that goal. A lot. There are setbacks along the way, but we keep on trucking.
      3. We evaluate our success. As long as we haven’t achieved that goal, we buckle down and get back to work.
      4. Finally, we achieve the goal. Success! Victory! Now it’s time to reward ourselves with a vacation.

      And of course, when we get back from vacation, it’s time to set a new goal, and start the whole cycle over again.

      This is the prevailing wisdom, and according to the prevailing wisdom, I should be packing my bags right about now; after all, the book is published, the guest posts are written, the marketing is all done – in other words, the work has been completed, and the goal has been achieved.

      Except that the prevailing wisdom is wrong, wrong, wrong. To understand why it’s wrong, we have to understand where it came from…

      Vacations in a Corporate Setting

      The prevailing wisdom comes from the corporate reality, and in that setting, the prevailing wisdom makes sense.

      The job of managers in a corporate environment is to make sure that other people do theirs. To do that effectively, they have to do two things (in addition to giving clear instructions and allocating the actual work, of course):

      1. Manage employees’ motivation. If employees aren’t motivated to get the job done, then they probably won’t. It’s the manager’s job to keep employees motivated to keep on working.
      2. Manage employees’ energy level. If employees are tired or burned out, then they won’t get much work done, either. It’s the manager’s job to manage workloads, and make sure that doesn’t happen.

      Putting a vacation at the end of a project helps to achieve both of these objectives; it rewards employees for their hard work, which helps to keep them motivated, and it gives them an opportunity to recharge, so that they’re ready for more hard work when they get back.

      But that logic doesn’t work if you’re running your own business, and in charge of your own income.

      For one, you shouldn’t need a vacation to reward you for your hard work; the results of your hard work should be all the reward that you need. That’s the beauty of doing your own thing – at least part of the reason why you do it is that you love it, and find the work itself to be motivating.

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      (This intrinsic motivation is also why I believe that entrepreneurs are capable of doing so much more actual work than corporate employees; if you want to learn more about that, check out Dan Pink’s RSA Animate video about his book Drive.)

      But even more importantly, because it doesn’t factor in two very important things: momentum, and the landscape of opportunity…

      Momentum is a Real Thing

      Momentum is a funny thing. You can’t touch it, or see it, but you can definitely feel it, and it can do wonderful things for your business. It is also the first big reason why you shouldn’t take a vacation after a big win.

      Here are three basic rules for understanding momentum:

      1. Wins create momentum.
      2. Action after a win multiplies momentum.
      3. Inaction dissipates momentum.

      Simple enough, and pretty intuitive, right?

      The upshot of these rules, though, is that after your big win, you should be doing everything that you can to ride and multiply the momentum, rather than taking a break and letting it dissipate.

      There’s an even better reason to work after a big win, though: wins change everything.

      The Changing Landscape of Opportunity

      Goals, by definition, are about changing something – if everything stayed exactly the same, then you wouldn’t have to work to achieve it. We have a lot of different kind of goals, but they all boil down to making us healthier, or happier, or better off. In other words, they’re about making our worlds a little bit better.

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      Better is good, but better is also different. It’s hard to change just one thing and leave everything else the same. Changing one thing changes everything. And when everything changes, new opportunities open up.

      Now let me ask you, as an entrepreneur – when new opportunities are opening up, is it time to take a vacation, or is it time to seize those opportunities? Any entrepreneur worth his salt would say that it’s the latter – that’s just a part of the mindset that allows entrepreneurs to do what they do…

      The Red Honda Effect and the Psychology of Success

      You know how when you start thinking about something, suddenly you start seeing it everywhere, as though you were “magnetically drawing it into your life”?

      Some people call it “the secret” or the “law of attraction”, but I call it the “red Honda effect”. Thinking about something doesn’t magically draw it towards you, but it does focus your attention, so that you start noticing it around you (just like when you’re thinking about buying a red Honda, you start seeing them everywhere).

      The same effect is at play when it comes to looking for opportunity. Just developing the mindset that opportunity is there, just waiting for you to find and seize it, will expand your frame of reference and allow you to see more possibilities.

      (Want to read more about this? Check out Mindset by Carol Dweck, or Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson.)

      Long story short? When things are going well, there’s always the opportunity to make them even better! :D Now, just to be clear, I’m not advocating the stereotype of the workaholic entrepreneur who never takes a break or vacation.

      What Vacations Are For, and When They’re Okay

      Entrepreneurs don’t need vacations to stay motivated, but we do need to manage our energy level, and vacations are a big part of that; it’s important for us to take breaks, breath some fresh air, and get some perspective on what we’re doing. In other words, even though we don’t need vacations as rewards, they’re great for resting and recharging – just so long as we don’t take one at a time that will take away our momentum, or kill an opportunity.

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      For an entrepreneur (or anyone who is in charge of their own income), vacations don’t come when projects are complete. On the contrary – they should come when the projects are still in progress, but you’re tired, and need to recharge to carry the ball the rest of the way:

        Celebrate, then Get Back to Work!

        Make sure not to skip the celebration box, because it’s important!

        As the diagram indicates, our projects aren’t as nice and neat as the projects of a corporate employee, with a start, middle, end, and vacation before the next one. Our projects are messy, and blend into each other in a continuum of work and the pursuit of opportunity.

        That’s great, and we wouldn’t have it any other way, but it’s also important to pause and celebrate the wins.

        After the launch, my wife and I went out to a nice restaurant, and raised our glasses to toast my book finally being done and launched to the world.

        But then the next day, I got back to work… ;)

        What about you? Do you believe in a vacation after a big win, or do you agree that this is the time to look for new opportunities, and build on your momentum?

        (Photo credit: Beach chair and umbrella from Shutterstock

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        Last Updated on November 16, 2020

        10 Good Habits to Have in Life to Be More Successful

        10 Good Habits to Have in Life to Be More Successful

        Habits are behaviors and patterns that you showcase by default. Many good habits to have will enable you to carry out crucial activities like taking a shower, brushing your teeth, and getting ready for work. 

        Interestingly, you follow this routine every day without thinking twice. Your unconscious daily habits create room for your brain to perform more advanced activities like problem-solving and choosing what book to read.

        Everyone has habits, and several of those habits are activated every day. I would classify them into three groups:

        • Habits that you hardly notice as they have become a major part of your life, such as brushing teeth or getting dressed.
        • Good habits to have to be more successful, like eating healthy, exercising, and reading books.
        • Habits that are harmful, like procrastinating, smoking, or overeating.

        Good habits are fundamental to becoming successful in life. Yet, as significant as habits are, some lack the knowledge of their capabilities.

        While much of the emphasis falls on bad habits to break, it’s just as important to focus on good habits to have and cultivate in your daily routine.

        Here, we’ll talk about 10 good habits to have to be more successful in life.

        1. Begin Your Day with Meditation

        I recommend mindful meditation early in the morning. This practice helps you to place yourself in the present moment. Consequently, it enables you to be mindful of challenging situations during the day.

        Different stressors may trigger as you go through the day; meditation helps you to remain calm before taking on the challenges.

        Personally, it helps me to devise strategies and think about ideas. Meditation is a good habit to have if you want to be connected to what’s significant in your life.

        2. Be Grateful for What You Have

        It’s not uncommon to waste time thinking of what’s not enough. You become immersed in those daunting challenges. However, challenges justify the presence of hope. The only strategy you have to stop focusing on your problems is to focus on what you have.

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        Gratitude is a time-tested pathway to success, health, and happiness. It redirects your focus to what you have from what you lack. Try writing a list of things you’re grateful for each day in a gratitude journal, or make it a habit to say one thing you’re grateful for when you sit down to dinner with your family.

        3. Smile

        Can you pause and smile before you continue reading this?

        Now, here is what just happened based on research conducted by the Association for Psychological Science; you set a pace for living a happier life when you smile. A genuine smile, or what’s called a Duchenne smile, is a good habit to have if you want to find spiritual, emotional, and mental peace of mind.[1]

        Smiling induces the release of molecules that function towards fighting stress. The physiological state of your body determines the state of your mind. When you slouch or frown, your mind takes cues relating to unhappiness and depression. However, once you adjust yourself by putting on a smile, you begin to feel a new level of excitement and vibrancy.

        4. Start Your Day With a Healthy Breakfast

        Starting your day with a healthy breakfast is a good habit to have and forms a crucial part of your life. Nevertheless, about 31 million Americans skip their breakfast each day.[2]

        If you are fed up hearing that breakfast is a crucial component of your day, you are only fighting the truth. If you want to become more successful, you need to “break your fast” with healthy foods every morning.

        This habit is not difficult to form if you usually rush out the door every single morning. You can wake up earlier to fix yourself a meal so you don’t break down during the day.

        Get inspired by these 20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time.

        5. Exercise Daily

        One of the good habits to have is to exercise your body and muscles on a daily basis. You don’t have to run a marathon or lift tons of weights. You only need to engage in activities that oxygenate your blood and inject endorphins in your body, trying to squeeze in at least 15 minutes every day.

        Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, classified exercise as a good habit to maximize his already jam-packed schedule.[3] He said:

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        “I wake up by 5, meditate for 30 minutes, seven-minute workout times three, make coffee, and check-in.”

        He said on Product Hunt that he follows this routine every day as it gives him a steady-state that empowers him to be more productive.

        6. Manage Your Time

        Another good habit is the act of managing your time effectively. This goes a long way toward impacting your achievement.

        Time management is what separates the successful from the rest of the world as we all possess the same amount of time. How you leverage time determines your potential to succeed in life[4].

        Good habits to have: Time management tips

          So how do you manage your time effectively?

          Here’s Jack Dorsey’s recommendation in one of the Techonomy events:

          “I accomplish effective time management by theming my days and practicing self-discipline. These themes help me handle distractions and interactions. If a request or task does not align with the theme for that day, I don’t do it. This sets a cadence for everyone in the company to deliver and evaluate their progress”.

          And this is Dorsey’s weekly theme layout:[5]

          • Monday – Management
          • Tuesday – Product
          • Wednesday – Marketing and growth
          • Thursdays – Developers and partnerships
          • Fridays – Culture and recruiting
          • Saturdays – Taking off
          • Sundays – Reflection, feedback, strategy, and preparing for Monday

          No wonder he was able to run two companies when others were struggling with one job.

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          7. Set Daily Goals With Intentions

          Everyone has goals, whether they relate to business or personal life. The truth is, we’re all tending towards a particular direction. Nevertheless, while long-term goals can offer you direction, it’s your daily goals that help you develop short-term goals that are essential for your success.

          Long-term goals may not give you the motivation you need to keep on, but when you implement your short-term milestones daily, you become fired up, and you can overcome the challenges that come with taking on bigger tasks.

          Here’s the main truth: Successful people don’t set goals without establishing their intentions. According to Jennifer Cohen of Forbes,[6]

          “What helps you to achieve your desired expectation is ensuring intentions accompany your daily goals.”

          8. Seek Inspiration

          It is usually difficult to be inspired for a considerable length of time. Sometimes, you become discouraged and feel like giving up on your goals when things are not working out as intended.

          A practical approach to stay on top of the situation is to inspire yourself each day. When you wake up in the morning (after meditation), watch some motivational videos, and let the story of great leaders inspire you.

          Establish what Anthony Robbins called the “hour of power.” Determine how many minutes you spend, but make it count. Inspiration is the fuel for achievement because when you can conceive it in your mind, you can accomplish it.

          Michal Solowow, an investor and the founder of Mitex, puts it this way[7]:

          “The problems I encounter in everyday life motivate me to find solutions. This is a self-propelling mechanism. Becoming a billionaire was never a motivating factor.”

          9. Save Steadily, Invest With All Prudence

          I can’t exhaust the good habits to have without talking about saving and investing. Most times, you overlook the significance of saving for the future when you are living in your present moment. According to CNBC, a $1000 emergency will propel several Americans into debt.[8]

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          However, it is not enough to save, and you must invest your funds and be wise with them. If you pay attention to this now, you will set yourself up for a life of success in the future. Ensure you save at least six months in your emergency account so you can be prepared for any future emergency.

          If you’re looking for a simple way to save money, check out the following video:

          10. Budget and Track Your Spending

          Benjamin Franklin warned of taking the precaution of little expenses. He said:

          “A small leak sinks a great ship.”

          It is easy to discard little expenses, but the truth is they always add up. This happens when you fail to budget.

          Budgeting is a good habit to have, and it can impact your financial life significantly. The money you spend on extravagant lifestyles can be saved and invested in your future instead.

          The Bottom Line

          Endeavor to start developing good habits to have to become more successful as you journey through life. The quicker you cultivate them, the faster you will achieve your goals.

          More About Cultivating Good Habits

          Featured photo credit: Andrijana Bozic via unsplash.com

          Reference

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