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Go Away!

NVCC Director of Programs and Communications, Cristoff Shay does a great job of putting this e-newsletter together each month. One of his jobs is to harass me until I've submitted my column to him, usually well after the deadline. Having just returned from a wonderful vacation on the Cape, I have to admit that I'm not quite ready to pound out a serious business column today. My body is back but perhaps my mind is still on the beach.

So I thought I would share with you what I did on my summer vacation. Okay, for those who haven't stopped reading, I'm kidding. Actually, I could sum it up in one-word - I did nothing. And it was great.

I know we all have different schedules, but I do hope that you have the opportunity to take some time off during the summer. Furthermore, if you have the time by all means, use it. Numerous studies point out the mental and physical benefits of taking time off. Running a business is hard work; it's mentally taxing and can be all consuming. The ability to step away from it from time to time is critical. Not only that, but by removing yourself from your work you can sometimes look at things with a different perspective.

Consider this from the Ohio State University Extension Wellness Blog, "According to Karen Matthews of Mind Body Center at the University of Pittsburgh, taking time away from work and routine allows the body to replenish and repair itself. The center surveyed 1,399 participants recruited for studies of cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and other conditions, and found that leisure activities, including taking vacations, contributed to higher positive emotional levels and less depression among the participants. Other benefits include lower blood pressure and smaller waistlines, reports npr.com." Not surprising, although while I haven't checked my blood pressure, I don't think I came home with a smaller waistline.

Of course many of us think we are taking a vacation when, in fact, we are simply going somewhere else to work. We bring our laptop, smart phone, tablet, etc. with us and thanks to the internet we can work while on vacation. Sounds like fun! I've tried over the past couple of years to wean myself of this practice (which my family appreciates) and have found that it makes a tremendous difference to shut off the devices when I'm away. I'm lucky to have more than competent staff at the Chamber and if some unforeseen Chamber catastrophes were to occur, they could reach me in a pinch. (As a side note I should add that there are times when it's necessary to have your phone on. Two years ago I was down the Cape when then-NVCC Chairman, Steve Fradkin called me to offer me my position with the Chamber. I happily suspended my no phone policy for that call!)

While we may never adopt the European model of shutting it down for a month each summer, I do hope that to the extent that you can, even if it's just a long weekend - go away! You deserve it.