I just got back from two weeks vacation. I couldn't recommend it more. I am in a much better state of mind to lead. All those little annoyances have slid away, leaving room for dealing with important tasks. Instead of leaving work every day completely frustrated, I'm going home with a sense of accomplishment. The annoyances aren't gone; I'm just better able to cope with them.
Don't fall into the trap that you are indispensable. I always worry that it isn't a good time to take a vacation. The group will collapse without me. On the contrary, there are certain things that only happen if you leave:
- Obviously, you recharge your batteries. This is a critical part of Steven Covey's seventh habit: sharpen the saw. Two weeks is a minimum for me, since it takes me four to five days to get work out of my system.
- When you get back you can focus on the important problems rather than the day-to-day annoyances. You may be more productive the first week back than you were the previous three weeks working.
- Time off gives you new perspective. I'm finding this first week back that I'm full of new ideas that I never would have had without wiping my slate clean.
- Time off creates an opportunity for others in your team to grow. When you are not around, they need to cope with problems without your support. This is a tremendous opportunity for people to learn. When you get back, try to let people continue with their newly-learned autonomy.
Give yourself a break, take a vacation: if not because you need it, then because your team needs it.