The Case For Taking Time Off This

Is it too cliche to say I can’t believe it’s already August and the summer is nearly over? I’m sure you’re feeling it too. If you’re like the many IT professionals who are being asked to do more with fewer resources, experiencing the pinch from the shortage of qualified labor, dealing with economic pressures on budgets, and facing escalating security risks, you’re probably feeling overdue for a vacation.

I’m not writing this today to pitch you on how Premier can give you some extra bandwidth (we can) or how we could reduce your stress and make life easier (we could), or even how working with us can make the IT projects you need to be done by the end of the year get done faster (you guessed it, they would). I’m simply here to tell you to take a break, you earned it. 

I’ve had a long career in this industry. As a younger man, I was eager to grind out long hours and willing to sustain it for months or years on end without a break. With some experience and wisdom under my belt, I’ve learned the virtues of taking a break from work as a way to actually improve my performance. 

If you’ve ever paid attention to the safety instructions before takeoff on a plane, you’ll recall they tell you that in the event of an emergency, put on your own mask before you help others put on theirs. That’s because if you can’t breathe or think due to a lack of oxygen, you won’t be capable of helping anyone including yourself. 

So here are the reasons that taking a vacation is just the oxygen mask you need. 

  1. Disconnecting (and I mean really disconnecting) allows you to feel more present. Rather than endlessly ruminating on what you have to do and the decisions you have to make, spending a week where your toughest decision is whether to hit the beach or the resort pool will put you in a better mental state when you return and leave you more capable to make those decisions with clarity. 
  1. Stress kills. It’s a simple but scary fact that chronic stress contributes to a variety of conditions that increases the risk of all-cause mortality, including cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. Vacations interrupt the things in your life that contribute to chronic stress and give your body (and mind) a chance to hit the reset button.
  2. Feeling connected is a basic human need. We are social creatures and study after study shows that having strong family, friend, and community connections are correlated with better health outcomes. In fact, the opposite has been proven as well – lack of connection is correlated with an increase in all-cause mortality at the same levels as smoking. Taking a vacation with loved ones rebuilds and reinforces those connections that are so crucial to our well-being. 

So, I hope you’ve planned to take some time off. The machine will keep running while you’re gone because you have a great team, partners, vendors, and advisors. The world won’t end and the enterprise won’t collapse. I’m stepping away a bit myself this month, and my team will be here to provide the critical support and guidance our customers rely on. I’ll be looking forward to reconnecting with you next month to bring you more technology insights. Until then, wishing you a happy, healthy, and safe summer of fun.