I am back from my month long vacation. I feel rested, energized, and ready to dive right back into work. Well, I have to disclose here that it wasn’t really a VACATION per se. It was really a WORK-CATION, a new phrase I have coined about blending work and vacation.
I’ve been saying for years that in some fields where your office IS your phone and computer and as long as you can have fun while still taking care of business, you can have a working vacation. I believe financial advisors can create the life they want if they are able to envision bigger goals and an ideal life which can sometimes include working vacations. So I put it to the test this past August. Here is my account of how to blend work and vacation.
First a few definitions…
Definition of vacation:
1. A period of time devoted to pleasure, rest, or relaxation, especially one with pay granted to an employee.
2. A holiday.
3. A fixed period of holidays, especially one during which a school, court, or business suspends activities.
Definition of work:
1. Physical or mental effort or activity directed toward the production or accomplishment of something.
2. Something that one is doing, making, or performing, especially as an occupation or undertaking; a duty or task.
Here is my definition of Work-Cation:
Blending work and vacation at a visually appealing location that is not your home. Taking time off in between work to see the sights, eat at appealing restaurants, and generally have a good time.
Self employed professionals don’t often have time for a great vacation. There always seems to be too much work to do. Too much responsibility and too many tasks. The reality is that getting away for a one week vacation is tough enough let alone one month of serenity on the beach, like I have just accomplished.
My one month vacation was on the west coast of the United States. My husband and I rented a three bedroom condo on the Southern Oregon Coast with a great view of the Port of Brookings Harbor, the Chetco River, and the ocean in the distance. It was wonderful and relaxing. We went on day trips to see the Oregon coast, visit the areas many wineries, and shopped and ate like a local.
Blending work and vacation
What’s so nice about taking your phone and computer with you on vacation is that you can devote time to fun and in between outings, you can run your business. So for me this meant that on more than one occasion I found myself sauntering over to the computer, glass of wine in hand, to check my email.
The changing concept of vacation
I am not originally from the United States – I was born in Australia, lived in Hong Kong, two Hawaiian islands, and finally settled in Scottsdale Arizona many years ago. In the United States we have adopted the attitude that taking a one week vacation is the only option available to us if we want to keep our jobs or maintain our sole proprietorships. The rest of the world looks upon us with curiosity. Four to six week vacations are the norm in the rest of the developed world. Why have we not adopted this notion? Why are we still stuck in work overload? I think it’s time to bust out of the work chained to us.
What tools do you need to blend work and vacation?
- An excellent internet connection
- A VOIP phone with a local phone number or a cell phone
- A laptop computer
Benefits of combining work and vacation
- You get to visit a location you might not otherwise visit
- On work days, our end of the day time was spent drinking wine while watching the boats come into the port
- Reduced expense – because my husband is a consultant with a client in the area, we were able to pay for the condo rent from his business account.
What surprised me
- I worked more than I thought I would – I really LOVE what I do and on days when I was not coaching clients, I couldn’t stop myself from writing blog posts, commenting on blogs, and weighing in on clients’ design decisions
- I worked almost every day – even on days where we planned a significant trip, I worked checking email and returning phone calls
- My sisters and nieces came to stay with us for a week. While they were with us there were a few days we had to work and not go on excursions with them. This was not fun because I love my family and hated to miss out on spending time with them.
- I didn’t do what I thought I would have time for – so all the books I brought with me went unread. I did however read a few novels! A big accomplishment for me.
- Despite working while on vacation, I FEEL GREAT. I feel like I had a real vacation. I did not come home to thousands of emails or piles of bills. Thanks to the internet I made tons of sales of my information products while I was gone and took care of outstanding issues that couldn’t wait.
Questions for you
How can you use this experiment to your advantage? Can advisors combine work and vacation successfully? Yes, of course you can. You are your own boss. You can create the life you want and make your practice work for you.
Now it’s your turn
What about you? Comment below and tell me if you have been able to blend work and vacation successfully. Or, tell me what’s keeping you from trying this concept.
I would love to take a work-cation! But since law enforcement officers are paid by the local taxes, I don’t think that the community would buy into the idea of me fighting crime in San Diego, or Orlando, or Maine, or anywhere else. What a great idea though!
Good point Dan. Maybe you could be a law enforcement consultant and go to San Diego to “study” the environment? JK. Suzanne
I love this idea. So far I’ve done a little bit of work while on a longer vacation (phoning a client from Disneyland so that we didn’t miss our regularly scheduled appointment and editing a client’s website by the pool). I’ll have to wait until my husband retires or switches to self-employment before we can take a whole month together somewhere else for a “work-cation”
Brenda, what you can imagine you can create.
Oliver, It’s so wonderful to hear that your family is closer because of this. Sometimes we forget the reason why we work so hard. It’s to spend time with our family and show them how much we care. Suzanne
I have never tried this concept of vacation and work.
This is a good idea but I don’t think my family allows me to do so.
Darcy, while having a rest and a bit of work, the term “Work-Cation” came to me! And yes, we have to beat the spammers! Suzanne
My husband and I have done this three times, twice in Paris and once in a small town near Cancun, Mexico. During one of these month long adventures I wrote a whole screenplay. Although it turned out that screenwriting wasn’t one of my strengths, I’m glad I did it. It was an accomplishment and our days were wonderful. For 4 hours in the morning we would visit a museum and then I would write for three hours. Then rest and go out at night. It was romantic to be writing in a city where so many amazing writers had written great works of literature. And, we’ve been in every room in the louvre, almost every park and museum in Paris, and we did it all on $1,000 rent, $40 a day on food — lots of baguettes and cheese, and about $30 a day on sightseeing. That’s about $3,000 for a 4 week vacation in the most sophisticated city in the world.
That is absolutely wonderful Donna! What a wonderful work-cation and such a good way to experience life. As someone living in the U.S. I think Americans don’t spend enough time LIVING their lives. We work too much and we don’t focus on the real act of having an interesting life. Having experiences like this is what makes a real life.