Montreal is one of my favorite cities, the art, architecture, friendly people, delicious food, and a great approach to life; Canadians and Aussies are similar in their sense of humor and ability to balance work and play.
I recently spent a week in this magnificent city to attend Formula One, wander Old Montreal and enjoy incredible art galleries and eat at way too many delicious restaurants (no calories as I was on vacation… right)?
To constantly perform at a high level requires energy, stamina and scheduled recovery. Scheduled recovery is an essential part of every leader’s year and often overlooked. The most successful people plan vacation and down time, that means total disconnection from responsibilities, technology and email (not always possible, but often a goal).
In Fortune Magazine I was reading Europeans think Americans are crazy because Europeans take off up to 6 weeks of vacation a year and US employees leave 429 million vacation days on the table every year! Interestingly 40% of executives think employees would be more productive if they took vacations. Yet among those same senior managers 72% said if offered unlimited vacation time they wouldn’t take it!
Three strategies to help you schedule recovery are listed below for you to consider:
Plan early – In the cold months of January each year we review calendars to plan a variety of trips during that year and might include cars, bikes, pool time or trips back to Australia to see family and friends. It’s a practice we have followed for many years to ensure the majority of vacations are scheduled to give us experiences to look forward to. Can you review your calendar and book time to enjoy something that you love to do with people you love being with?
Create variety – schedule a variety of timeframes, locations and adventure and relaxation based on your needs and budgets. I’m not a stay-cation kinda girl – my office is in my home and I would just work the whole time, that doesn’t work for me however many people find these a great solution. I do try and be a tourist in my own town occasionally to discover local spots. Consider visiting a new spot, driving instead of flying, build in adventure, art galleries visits or a walking tour of a city. With so many online tools to help plan your visit you can leverage community events, support local initiatives and also experience cities and towns in a completely new way. We often use HomeAway as I prefer apartment or a house than a hotel when travelling for extended stays. We have used this service around the world and have loved it every time.
My career allows me the luxury of travel to incredible places staying in lovely hotels and yet some vacations the idea of getting on another plane or staying in another hotel, doesn’t appeal so driving to Montreal was perfect.
Can you and your family choose a new adventure in the next twelve months that everyone can help plan to enjoy a trip together?
Go offline – this is the toughest ask for many of our clients (and me) but its not impossible! Can you create an out of office message that bounces back to manage email providing an alternative person to help out while you are away? Can you stay off social media and avoid being sucked into the Facebook vortex and instead focus on creating memories with those you love (instead of looking at others lives).
Get outside, hike a mountain, wander a national path, collect shells on a beach, fish on a lake; have you ever noticed how much better you feel, how much deeper you sleep and how much healthier you feel on vacation when you invest time to be active while you are relaxing.
Recovery time is not negotiable for any leader who wants to excel daily. If you want to accelerate your leadership, be a productive contributor on your team, take time off. You will be more fun to work with, more focused and energized and you will create memories with people you care about, and isn’t that the reason many of us work?
Pay attention to what matters. You, your health, and your loved ones all benefit from scheduled recovery, book yours today.