I don’t know about you, but I tend towards workaholic tendencies.
Speaking from experience, it can be hard to disconnect from work when you are a freelance professional. I often find myself saying that since I can take an afternoon off whenever I need to, it isn’t a big deal if I stay connected over the weekend to wrap something up or get a head start on my week. And that’s true, provided I actually do take an afternoon off here and there and don’t work for ten days straight. I have to admit that I have been guilty of this.
It is widely agreed that taking a vacation from your busy work life makes you more productive. Vacations allow you to ground yourself, rest your brain, spend time with loved ones, and broaden your horizons—especially if you love to travel and try new things as much as I do.
Vacation isn’t just about a change in scenery. It’s about unplugging. A study conducted at University of Mannheim and cited in Greater Good Magazine found that the inability to detach from work often goes hand in hand with burnout, whereas disengaging (i.e. taking a nice break) helps us deal with work stress more effectively and, you guessed it, be more productive. Taking time off to do something that you enjoy and are passionate about can make your vacation all the more relaxing and meaningful.
This summer, as in several summers past since transitioning to freelancing, I will be taking a working vacation to do something I find very rewarding. I will be leading a three-week cultural and linguistic immersion trip to France (where they really know how to take a vacation) for a group of 13- to 15-year-old students. We will visit some of France’s most iconic sites, including Mont Saint-Michel and the Eiffel Tower, and some that are less popular but no less exciting, including the Pont du Gard and the Dune du Pilat—all while only speaking French. I feel very privileged to help young language learners have this experience. How formative a trip like this can be isn’t lost on me. A family trip and homestay experience in France when I was 16 put me on the path that led to where I am today. I think back to the educators (both curricular and extracurricular) who helped me find my way as a language lover and am humbled that I might spark a lifelong interest in language learning and travel in one of the students on the trip.
Once the students head home, I will truly unplug and travel on my own before coming back to the office. I genuinely value having time away and always return home with renewed enthusiasm, my neurons firing a mile a minute with all of the great expressions and words I had the chance to learn and practice while I was on the road. I encourage all of my freelance colleagues to take the time to unplug this summer and reap the benefits of increased productivity, creativity, and energy.
What do you do to unplug and recharge your batteries? What was the best vacation you ever took? Please share in the comments or on Twitter by tweeting me at @Bentranslates.
If you are interested in learning more about the trip I’m leading, click here.