Vacation: Helping Unwind Since the Beginning of Time
I haven’t posted in a week, and I’m rearing to go now. Undoubtedly, you’ve noticed and I know it’s been hard. Luckily, absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? Well, Cash Flow Celt is back in action after a week vacation. The CFC family took a trip to the beach to get some rays. A hotter than average Florida summer and an all-Irish family at the beach – we like to live dangerously. Alas, everyone survived and the kiddo has upgraded his skin tone from translucent to just a pasty-white kid. Success!
My intention this past week was to spend just six hours or so at the beach condo to write two articles and another four to update the site and market it as well. However, I was looking forward in the calendar and my eyes popped out of my head like a cartoon character when I saw what was upcoming! I’m looking to finish my real estate course this month and take the exam in late September. I hope to be licensed and signed on with my first brokerage in October. After that, all I have left is networking, prospecting for clients, and working as a real estate agent. Well, that and continue to work my full time job at the sheriff’s office and continue to write two articles weekly for CFC and market it as well. Throw in the normal obligations of having a child, family and household to tend to, and I’ve got tasks on tasks on tasks.
Because of all of that, I decided to just take the week off and enjoy my time. It was the kid’s first time at the beach after all. I also tend to not take vacation time anyway. I’m a workaholic. This was my first vacation this year; it will also likely be the last for a long time as I look to start a new transitional career in real estate. It’s important to decompress sometimes.
Why You Need to Take It Easy Sometimes
Admittedly, I have a hard time following this advice. My girlfriend’s mother is always telling me to stop working so much. If you’ve read my thoughts on the 40 Hour Workweek you know I tend to work 60 hours pretty regularly between my office job and side hustles.
That said, we all run out of juice at some point. I’ve strained myself recently between wearing all my hats and being switched to night shift. All of that is leading to more stress on my body. I feel like I’m 27 going on 40 sometimes. As a workaholic I tend to have a bit more in the reserves than most, but there is only so much that organizing your time effectively can do. You will get beat down and tired and that will likely lead to bitterness and discontent at home.
After this last week, I’m still tired, but that’s because I’m adjusting back to a night schedule after being ‘normal’ at the beach. Generally, though, I’m a bit sluggish and hesitant to agree to anything out of my schedule. When you work to your max extent, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for flexible additions. It’s not a way to live. Even if you’re in the grinding phase of your career, you still need to remember the big picture. Your health and your life. Your career may be 40 years; however, you’ll likely live for a long time after that. Don’t destroy those retirement years prematurely because you grinded a little too much.
Benefits of a Vacation
I’m not talking about mini vacations. I’ve taken a few of them this year, and they’re fun, but they don’t refuel you the same. I’m talking about a real vacation – getting out of the house. If you can’t afford to stay somewhere else, try to fill up your time with memorable experiences in these vacations. Eat at some exclusive restaurants, go skydiving, read a book or two. Do things that you normally wouldn’t do in your daily life. Give your brain a reason to think about things other than work.
These vacations lead to longevity. They minimize career burn-out. You can’t work in a stressful environment eight hours a day at 300 days a year and not see negative outcomes. This goes double for my emergency services people. The OECD notes that the average American worker puts in 1,790 hours a year; that’s about 223 days a year. If you do your own math – 40 hours a week at 50 work weeks (52 minus two weeks of PTO), less 8 federal holidays, less 5 sick days – it comes to about 1,896 hours, which is 237 days worked. Either way, the average person spends about 60-65% of the year at just a day job.
The vacations also lead to longevity in health. Your body is a machine. You put in inputs (sleep and food) and you get outputs (work, family time, other tasks). But machines need time to get repaired and take a break too. Lightbulbs are rated on an effective rated life; a lot of TV’s are too. They can only produce so much ‘work’ before they burn out and break. We’re not much different. Work too much and you are at increased risk for disease and sickness.
Life is a marathon, not a race. Take a break and chill out sometimes. Don’t risk your long-term health for some short-term goals. If you have a long stretch of work coming up, put your head down and bear on. However, set goals and provide a carrot. For me, I’ve got all of this work coming up and probably won’t feel comfortable taking a break until next June. However, I’ve got goals for the short-term, and I’ve got long-term goals related to sales targets I hope to meet as a real estate agent. Once next June or so rolls around though, I’m going on vacation. My goals also correlate with my carrot. The more goals I hit, the bigger I plan to make my budget for vacation. It’s all about balance. For the time being though – I’m glad to be going back to work.
Readers, do you take the bare minimum vacation, or do you live life while you have it? Be sure to voice your opinion down in the comments. Also check out Cash Flow Celt on Facebook. If you haven’t yet, take a look at my review of Republic Wireless to see if you can save money on your phone bill. I cut my bill in half when I switched.