Monthly Archives: August 2009

Why I Would Hate a Staycation

“Staycations” are a myth and waste of time for entrepreneurs and business leaders.

In case you’re wondering what a staycation is, here is a definition from Wikipedia.

“A staycation (or stay-cation, or stacation, or staykation) is a neologism for a period of time in which an individual or family stays at home and relaxes at home or takes day trips from their home to area attractions.”

Telling me to say at home and have a staycation is like telling me to sit at my computer and not check the news or email for eight hours. Impossible! I can just imagine telling my 15 year old son that we are on a staycation for a week, and explaining that it was a form of vacation and we were going to spend the week going to local museums, not answer the phone, no texting and no World of Warcraft. He would wonder what heinous crime he had committed to be punished like that.

As a business owner, it’s hard for me to imagine shutting my phone off, no email and no business transactions for a week, even though I’m in my home and haven’t really gone anywhere. That staycation would become a “stresscation.” I don’t know who would run away first, my son or me.

I suppose I had a staycation of sorts last year. I was hit by a car and stuck on my couch for several months. It was grueling.

I’m not saying that staycations are not good for some people, I’m just saying that for a business owner or business leader it wouldn’t be the most relaxing time.

Having a good life/work balance means that we’re able to be present in all aspects of our lives, and know how to eliminate, reduce or manage stressors.

For some people it may mean that they go away on vacation and set up a specific hour a day to answer email, and take care of any other necessary business. It also means that the rest of the time they can relax at the beach, sit by the pool or do nothing.

I once went on a vacation to Hawaii with a friend who couldn’t leave the hotel because she was afraid of missing a call or email. I set up a time every day when I would do that. My friend ended up stressed. She was never quite able to relax. I had a wonderful time and came back relaxed, calm and looking ten years younger.

If I took a staycation with my son, it would mean we’d have to leave the house at 6:00 AM, and use flashlights instead of electric lights to keep neighbors and friends from knowing we’re in town. We’d have to keep the blinds closed and live in fear of being found out. What would we do if friends asked to see photos and video from the vacation? We’d have to admit that we never went anywhere and just didn’t want to see them.

Every year I go to a camp in the Yosemite Mountains. There is no email and only pay phones. That’s the time when I have my assistant take care of my email, phone calls and other business. Of course I worry at first that I’ll miss something big, or think that only I can deal with a particular email or call. I catch myself ruminating, take a deep breath, remind myself that I trust my assistant and let go.

I do have to confess that I buy a phone card and every few days I use it at night to check messages, which I can do nothing about. There was another time when I went to the mountains and in the midst of writing a report for a client that was due in two days.
I didn’t want to change my plans. I finished the report while in Yosemite and since we had no Internet or cell phone service in the mountains, I drove around with my laptop open to every campground and lodge until I found an open network. I pressed send, let go and went swimming.

Having just come back from a three-week vacation in London, Nice and New York feeling renewed, I know a staycation would never work for me. I’d end up more stressed than I was before.

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