'Vacations Can Save Your Life.' Bethenny Frankel and More Top Business Leaders on Why They Unplug and Recharge
If you are constantly connected and working 24/7 to get ahead, stop now. These well-known executives and Advisors in The Oracles are incredibly powerful business leaders, yet even they believe in taking a break and getting away. Here’s what they have to say about vacation — and how it impacts your success in life.
1. Vacations can save your life.
Being constantly connected can morph into chronic stress that affects your physiology. When you turn off work stress for a while, that gives the creative parts of your brain space to work their magic. Stepping away is so vital to productivity, creativity, and clarity that “balance” is one of Bulletproof’s core values, which we back up with unlimited time off. After some time away, it’s easier to make decisions and unstick sticking points. You can fill pages with new ideas, and communication is more fluid.
Vacations also give you time to connect with others, which can literally save your life. Research shows that social connections massively reduce the risk of disease and even death. So take vacations and create dedicated time to unplug and invest in yourself every day in between. I schedule an hour a day of “personal upgrade time” when I do things that help me perform better, like yoga, meditation, brain training, and red light therapy. —Dave Asprey, entrepreneur, known as the “father of biohacking”; creator of Bulletproof 360 and New York Times bestselling author of “Game Changers”; follow Dave on Facebook and Instagram
2. Taking a break re-energizes you.
As hard as I work, I think it’s important to take time to restore — meaning that I work hard but I also like to relax hard. It’s important to have that balance. Otherwise, what is the point of working so hard if you aren’t able to stop and take time for yourself to enjoy life and have new experiences?
I was just in Nantucket, Massachusetts, and went wakesurfing, wakeboarding, and tubing with my daughter while I was there. I took walks on the beach for an hour of exercise. I didn’t wear makeup. It felt freeing. These moments away from the grind of work allow you to go back to your job feeling recharged, restored, and re-energized. —Bethenny Frankel, founder of Skinnygirl, cast member of “The Real Housewives of New York City,” New York Times bestselling author, and Shark on “Shark Tank”; follow Bethenny on Twitter and Instagram
3. Traveling can spark fresh ideas.
Vacations are so important, not only for me personally but also for the business. The getaway usually means something with my family, adventure, and discovery. We may be whitewater rafting and hiking in Patagonia or walking and biking in London. Sometimes it’s just a blanket on the beach and sandcastles. OK, I might sneak onto Instagram for a moment rather than working my shovel; but whatever we do, it takes my mind out of the day-to-day and lets me wander into the bigger picture.
Vacation gives me time to contemplate a few steps into the future. Whether it’s to another state or another country, getting away gives me the chance to see what’s going on in the market and sparks ideas for new products, new flavors, and new package design. The trends in South Korea vs. New Zealand vs. the California desert all add new perspectives to my process. Taking that breath also helps you appreciate your team in the office. Then after a few weeks with four very independent teenagers, my husband and I are ready for any challenge. —Kara Goldin, founder and CEO of Hint Inc.; creator of The Kara Network, a digital resource for entrepreneurs; and host of the “Unstoppable” podcast; follow Kara on Twitter and Instagram
4. Self-care increases your productivity.
It’s difficult to take time away when you’re a criminal defense attorney. A few years ago, a client asked if I could change his court date because he was taking a vacation — something I never thought to do for myself. When I finally started taking vacation, I created systems so I could stay in touch with my work and clients while still having downtime. Now when I come back to the office, I’m happier and more creative.
If taking a vacation is daunting, start with other forms of self-care. My good friend Lavinia Errico, the founder of Equinox Fitness Clubs, recommends implementing rituals little by little until they become habits. Think of a simple habit that would really serve you, like drinking eight glasses of water a day or taking 15 minutes to yourself before checking your phone in the morning. Once you have one habit down, add another. You’ll see major shifts simply by making incremental changes in your routine. Eventually, you’ll increase your productivity and understand why taking time off is a necessity, not a luxury. —Nafisé Nina Hodjat, Esq., founder and managing attorney of The SLS Firm
5. Getting away allows you to try something different.
It was time to test everything I’d learned over the past five days in the “evasive and protective driving” class. An instructor ran out in front of my car, so I threw it into reverse, slammed the accelerator, and whipped the car 180 degrees around like you see in the movies.
Over the past 10 years of building businesses, I’ve taken intensive skill-based courses like this one where I’ve learned to shoot, fly a helicopter, fight with a knife, and free dive. I return from these experiences motivated and re-energized.
It’s easy to work all the time. However, what matters is the quality of your work, not the number of hours. Unlike easy, mind-numbing tasks, you need mental energy, willpower, and motivation for the activities that have a big impact. That’s why I completely unplug and immerse myself in something new one hour a day and one day a week, as well as five days or more several times a year. Activities that recharge you are critical to success — and who doesn’t want to live like James Bond for a day? —Matt Clark, co-founder and chairman of Amazing.com and co-creator of Amazing Selling Machine; connect with Matt on Instagram
6. Vacations help ‘sharpen the sword.’
I sympathize with entrepreneurs who feel like they can’t take their foot off the gas — because I’ve been there. I remember when getting away wasn’t an option, but I learned the hard way that I burn out if I don’t take regular breaks.
Vacations have many health benefits. When we take breaks, we’re happier and nicer to be around. Spending time alone or with others without an agenda is wonderful. I love throwing out my schedule and having space to think about my contribution to the world.
But as a purpose-led entrepreneur, stopping work altogether isn’t in my DNA. I enjoy setting aside time for my business while I’m on vacation — just enough so I feel nourished. That’s when I get my best ideas. I have space, so I’m more relaxed and creative. Vacations used to be about guilt. Now they’re about balance, recharging, and sharpening the sword. —Andrea Callanan, musician-turned-entrepreneur; voice, confidence, and success coach, and founder of employee engagement company Inspire Me; public speaker and author of “You Are Meant for More”; connect with Andrea on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
7. You’ll burn out if you don’t self-prioritize.
I’m writing this after leaving a private island in Croatia, where I spent a week with some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. We celebrated our decision to connect, let loose, and take a break from the day-to-day of our businesses. While my business is fun and my passion, I need the play and pauses to continue thriving.
Entrepreneurial burnout is the real deal. It will happen if you don’t prioritize self-care. Taking a vacation enables us to gain critical insights, recharge, find the energy to grow, and just enjoy life. Working smarter is also critical for success and includes honoring the natural ebbs and flows of life. It’s about the journey, not the destination. —Will Kleidon, founder and CEO of Ojai Energetics, a cannabis company that produces products for supplements, medical technology, biotechnology, and industrial use; connect with Will on LinkedIn
8. Daily ‘micro-vacations’ can help recharge you, too.
I can’t lie on the beach; I’m just not wired that way. I am happiest when I’m creating, innovating, building, and contributing every single day. At the same time, I don’t subscribe to the philosophy “If you’re doing what you love, you don’t need to rest.” I believe we have heightened performance and a sense of joy and contribution when we are well rested and recharged. But the question is, how do we recharge?
I’ve taught myself to simulate micro-vacations by creating bubbles of recharging time in my everyday life. That might mean sitting in solitude with a coffee first thing in the morning, committing to regular massages, putting my phone away during dinner, sleeping in without an alarm, or just taking a walk around the block between meetings. But none of that works unless you are committed to integrating them into your life. As entrepreneurs, we need more self-care than just two weeks on a beach. We need to commit to integrating micro-vacations into our daily lives. —Sharran Srivatsaa, CEO of Kingston Lane and mentor to top entrepreneurs; grew Teles Properties 10x to $3.4 billion in five years; follow Sharran on Instagram
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