The most wonderful time of year (to work)

Wonderful time of year imageThe past couple of weeks have been busy with Christmas, and New Years Eve holidays. It’s the time of year that lots of people take time away from work, and email inboxes quiet down. Many of the days around the holidays have fewer people in the office, and there are very few scheduled meetings. It all can amount to a unproductive environment at work.

And yet, for me the holiday weeks have always been some of the most productive times of the year. I relish the days where I don’t have any scheduled meetings, there are fewer emails to respond to, and I can focus on the big picture. For this small company CEO, these past couple of weeks are critical to success in the new year.

I’ve spent the time working through our strategic and financial plan for year ahead. I’ve pored over financials, dug deep into the strategic possibilities, and had long conversations with advisors and mentors that I trust the most. I’ve read business related materials that have helped round out my thinking, and I’ve had quiet time to contemplate the year ahead. Indeed, for me it’s the most wonderful time of the year to work.

This first week of the new year, I’ll meet with the whole Punchbowl team to unveil the fruits of my labor: a well-thought out strategic roadmap for the year. It includes not only a clear description of how I made decisions, but also a product and marketing roadmap for the year. While I can’t predict whether or not the plan will be well received, I can be assured that I’m well prepared and that the plans have not been made rashly.

Even though I’ve worked most days over the holiday period, don’t be mistaken. I also had lots of time with my family, and plenty of time to see friends. But I was in the office on all of the work days, and spent evenings and some of the weekend at home thinking about work. I never shut off work like I do on vacations.

I’m not a fan of cold weather, and I would gladly trade one day in the summer for two days working in the winter. I’d rather work hard during December, January and February than during beach weather. I look forward to this coming summer when I’ll take a couple weeks off and enjoy the weather. That will be my reward for working hard through a time of year that lots of people shut it down.

SWAMI SAYS: Did you take a lot of days off this holiday season? Next year, consider working as much as you can during the holidays, and taking more time off during the warm summer months. You’ll start the year feeling ready to go and fired up.


Information Overload and the Entrepreneur

About once a year, I unplug from all of my electronic devices and go on vacation. I usually head for a warm, tropical place where I can enjoy the slower pace of life and tranquility of the ocean waves. I put away my cell phone and only check it for emergencies. I don’t bring a computer with me, don’t look at email, and only use an iPad (sparingly) if I really need to look up something vacation-related on the Internet.

After a week of being away from the constant stream of emails, blog posts, news stories and other online content, I always feel a sense of calm that I didn’t feel before my vacation. Like last year, I didn’t miss the information overload on my recent vacation. It turns out that I don’t care about the daily news cycle, endless Twitter chatter, and most of what I read on Facebook. I didn’t miss being connected all of the time. (more…)

Why you should NOT work on vacation

I’ve just returned from a fantastic vacation – completely disconnected from work. I do this a few times a year — go on vacation and become completely unavailable to my start-up. On this vacation, my wife and I went out of the country, and spent a week getting refreshed and reconnected with each other. It was fantastic, and exactly what we both needed. I’m now back at work feeling happy and relaxed — and ready to take on the next chapter of my start-up journey. (Note: Long-time readers will remember that I’ve written about this topic before — but I believe in this so much that I wanted to share my thoughts on this blog).

Here are the most important reasons of why you should NOT work on vacation: (more…)

Completely disconnected: a tech-free week

By the time you read this, I’m a few days into the one week of the year that I try to completely disconnect from all technology. Some people can’t believe that I’m able to do this (and think that I won’t actually disconnect), and this year I’ve found it to be harder than ever to wrap everything up before I disconnect. Nevertheless, after a lot of preparation, I have completely disconnected. (more…)