On Vacation!

4:00 PM - Wednesday, July 21st. I am officially on vacation. I will not be returning to work until Monday, August 2nd. I will not be checking work email while I am gone. I will not call in for voice mail messages. In fact, I can't remember the last time that I did in fact call in for voice mail messages. And since my clients are not privy to my cell phone number (unless they are personal friends and many in fact are) no one will track me down that way either. After all these years, my friends know to respect my work/life boundaries. And if they forget, I surely remind them! In my opinion, there is no such thing as an accounting emergency. Whatever awaits me at the office awaits me. And since I've perfected these work rules by owning my own business for over 26 years, it's a safe bet to say that I know all will be just fine if I am gone for 10 days. It's the end of July and there are no tax compliance deadlines nipping at my heels. In fact, I proudly left the office today having completed every single thing that I intended to do before I left.

Every single thing! Sure I have work to do upon my return. I always have work to do. The key to my leaving with complete and total piece of mind is that I was realistic on what I needed to accomplish before I left. I didn't overstress about what had to get down. And luckily not too many unexpected phone calls or emails interrupted my mission over the course of the short week (although post April 15th all my work weeks are shortened three day ones - lucky me!)

Enough about me! Have you stepped back and walked away from your business for vacation this year? It doesn't have to be a week. It can be a long weekend if you can't spare the time or the money. You don't even have to leave town. You can vacation where you live, do the things in town that tourists do and you take for granted. You can spend time with your kids before they go back to school, quality time just with them.

The question is can you do it without still being connected to work? Can you turn off your cell phone or at the very least let the business calls go to voice mail to be handled later? Can you set up an away message on your work email and then not take a peak at them, resist the urge to answer? If you can...good for you! If you can't are you really on vacation if you can't disconnect? Don't you deserve a bit of overdue rest and relaxation? Isn't it in your best interest and those of your friends, family, employees and business partners for you to step back, recharge your body and mind? It is hard to turn off your business brain sometimes. But you have to at least try. Sometimes the best ideas come out of nowhere when you least expect them. They may fester in the back of your brain but never come to the forefront of your mind. Amazingly they may in fact come to the fruition when your mind is truly free of the day to day responsibilities of the office.

There's no time table on scheduling a vacation. You just need to do it. Take the time to walk away, do something for just you. And try to do it with the freedom that comes from no internet and no phone. Everything is NOT an emergency. You wouldn't schedule a vacation in the midst of a deadline period. Hopefully you entire work existence isn't crisis mode every day. Or if it is, is it a crisis of your own making? Everything does not require your input. Trust the people that you have chosen as your key employees to do their job. They'd have to do so if you were sick, wouldn't they? And truly you don't want to be working yourself to that point. Because that's not a vacation in any way, shape or form. Don't let it come to that. Step away. Take a vacation. Do it for you! You'll return to work and everything will be just fine...really it will. The difference is that you'll be rested and ready to start anew. Ah the cycle of work and play. For me, the next ten days are about play! Boy am I ready!


Debbie Lessin is a woman of many identities. She is an author (Life is a Balancing Act...a fun book), speaker and entrepreneur for over 23 years as the owner of D J Lessin & Associates, a Chicago CPA firm and Balancing Act Productions, the creative endeavor she founded in 1997. Debbie has always described herself as having the brains of an accountant and the soul of an artist. Debbie began her quest for balance in 1994 - the year she turned 40 and her business celebrated 10 years of entrepre...

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