Chris Carmichael Blog: Playing Hooky

This week I took a day off.

I know that doesn’t sound all that exciting, but it’s been a while since I’ve truly taken a complete day off. I didn’t call anyone who works for CTS. I didn’t spend any time on emails. I stepped away from my business entirely for a day. And you know what? The place didn’t burn down.

I’m kidding, of course. I am fortunate to have a great team and I’ve never been more confident in their abilities. Even so, I’m not as good as I should be about taking true time off, which is not the same thing as a day at home where I spend a only a few hours corresponding via email and phone. And I’m not alone. A lot of managers, executives, and CEOs I meet wrestle with the decision to use their vacation days or paid-time-off. Every year, workers in the US forfeit tens of billions of dollars worth of paid vacation time; estimates reached a staggering $67 billion dollars at the height (or depth) of the recession in 2010. According to CNN Money, that number was cut in half – to $34 billion dollars – in 2011.

Here’s what I propose: Let’s see if we can cut that number in half again in 2012. Take your PTO, use your vacation days – even if you don’t go anywhere. Now, I realize that we (you, me, and the rest of the people who read these emails) can’t make a big dent in that number all by ourselves. But we can certainly do our part and encourage the people around us to do the same. Why? Because (with a few notable exceptions) the world isn’t going to end and your business isn’t going to fail if you take the 3-5 days of vacation time you would otherwise leave on the table this year.

Actually, let’s up the ante and make it a dare: Take at least one day off in the next two weeks. Just do it. Pull the trigger on a long weekend. Play hooky on an unusually warm spring day. But don’t think too hard about it, don’t get too elaborate, don’t take the fun out of it.  

What did I do? I took a long time eating breakfast and reading the news in the sun on my back porch. I rode my bike and took a nap, then spent the afternoon with my kids once they got home from school. It was a low-key day, and it was wonderful. At the office the next day, I had one of the most productive and positive workdays of the past few months.

I’d forgotten how rejuvenating a simple day off can be, so I’m reminding you because maybe you’ve forgotten as well.


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SRAM Gold Rusch Tour: Join CTS Athlete Ambassador Rebecca Rusch for these free events!

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MyTimeLine: Coaching packages featuring reduced-cost months for increased flexibility!

2012 La Ruta: Race the 2012 La Ruta de los Conquistadores. 3 packages to choose from!

Have a Great Weekend,

Chris Carmichael
CEO/Head Coach
Carmichael Training Systems

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