I was lucky enough to spend most of December not at work. I went on holiday on December 1st to the Dominican Republic with my family and in-laws for two weeks. That was our first major holiday since January 2020. We did have a week away in Greece in August for my brother’s wedding but that was a pretty busy week so we didn’t get much downtime.
By the time we got back home and I was in the office, there were only three working days left of the year and then we broke up for Christmas.
Prior to that, I had taken very little time off during the year. I worked every day, pretty much every night and weekends as well. Despite telling myself that I won’t work myself to death at the start of every New Year, it’s very easy to slip back into that habit of turning the laptop back on to get one or two more things done.
The reality of that habit is that you work every single hour you can, giving yourself no time to decompress, relax or spend more time doing the fun stuff you actually work for.
Going on that two-week holiday, and then diving straight into Christmas allowed me to gain some much-needed perspective on what is important in life. We work to live, not the other way around.
Mind and body
I said it on Twitter and I said it here, working yourself into the ground is not big and it’s not clever. It actually works against you. Being drained and burned out affects your productivity and creativity, as well as damages your own mental health. That time away in another country and Christmas actually allowed me to get some creative flow back. I’ll be honest and say that publishing my own articles was a big struggle at times on DGB in 2022, but I know why.
2022 had been a big year for our family-run business. We had decided at the start of the year to make major changes to our product portfolio, as well as marketing options, and we built two brand new showrooms for the new products that we are selling. These are major tasks and consume a lot of time and energy. Then you factor in the day-to-day selling that I normally do. It meant that when it came to writing articles for DGB, that process was not as easy. Thankfully, most of the changes at our installations business are nearly complete, which leaves me more time to be creative on here.
After a year of focusing hard on major changes in the family business, that time away at the start of December was very much needed. For the first time in a long time, I managed to get away with all my work complete. I turned on my out-of-office replies and was able to switch off mentally. No laptops. No work talk on messages. No windows. No doors. Just precious family time, the beach, the pool, sunshine and plenty of food and drink. Being away from social media actually felt like a blessing!
It was a fantastic two weeks. The better weather was good for me physically as well as mentally. And because I was able to switch off from the day job, I actually found my creativity and ideas coming back towards the end of the holiday. I had been that tuned into work that it actually restricted my own productivity. By the time I was ready to come back, I had ideas falling out of my head and a renewed sense of productivity for when I got back to the office properly. Sometimes taking a step back is better for you in the long term.
By the time I came home, I only had three days left in the office before we broke up for Christmas. Those last few workdays before the end of the year are always a bit hazy and full of nothingness. You spend them sorting out loose ends and clock-watching until the end of the day.
I then had from December 21st to January 2nd 2023 off work. More time I got to spend at home with the family. Christmas has always been very special to me, but even more so since I have had kids. Spencer is old enough now to fully understand Christmas, so to watch him get progressively excited was nice. Rose is only 9 months old so she is happy just playing a box at this point!
The time I spent away from work reminded me of what is truly important in life. Health and family. Everything else serves to protect and nurture your loved ones. It’s OK making lots of money, but if you have neither your family or your health, you literally have nothing. You could have nothing from a materialistic point of view, but if you have your loved ones around you, everything is fine.
I am sure all the parents out there have had this same thing. Having your toddler or child beg you to stay at home and not go to work. It happens a lot. And it cuts deep. Work is important, but not as important as they are.
2023 will still be an important work year for me. As in 2022, I will be solely focused on growing our own family installations business, as well as expanding DGB and bringing you original industry opinion and analysis. But that is it. Nothing more. I will be spending more time on holidays with my family, taking more time off during the year to enjoy the fruits of my work with the only people that matter.
Time off, whether at home or abroad, is important. It’s important for you as a person, and it’s important for your family. It allows you to look after yourself. Working every minute of every hour of every day when you don’t really have to is not a badge of honour. Get that balance right and make time for you and those close ones around you, as they are the only ones that matter.
To get weekly updates from DGB sent to your inbox, enter your email address in the space below to subscribe:
By subscribing you agree to DGB sending you weekly email updates with all published content on this website, as well as any major updates to the services being run on DGB. Your data is never passed on to third parties or used by external advertising companies. Your data is protected and stored on secure servers run by Fivenines UK Ltd.