I was thinking back to my last business trip to Las Vegas where I was attending a trade show. I had a keynote speech to give and many important meetings with industry executives. I was busy from morning until I collapsed in bed at night. When I get asked, “What happened in Vegas that stayed in Vegas?” -- The answer I give is “me.” Those hoping for an answer involving booze, women or debauchery may find that a boring response, but I was alone and delighted.
I have been a single parent of five children for over 19 years now, I ran a business with 100 employees (sold it last August!), I am the president of two non-profits in New York, I am a professional speaker, I write for four publications and I am a marketing and business consultant and so finding time to take dedicated vacations can be very difficult. However, I do have to take business trips so why not use that time in a multitasking way -- work and respite combined? I try to carefully plan my business schedule, so I have time for myself every day. For me that means some alone time, enjoying a quiet, high quality dinner, taking a walk with my camera and doing some serious street photography, seeing a show, watching a movie in my hotel room or even writing and article or my book. But it doesn't always work out that way.
So I add a day or two or three onto the end of a longer trip (even if I am in a less exciting place than Las Vegas) where I can really “vacation.” I don’t understand why business travelers don’t do it more often. I've already paid for the travel (or a client has paid for it, less the extra hotel days), I've already invested the time in making the travel plans, and I am there – no wasted time away from the kids or work getting there. It’s the most efficient short vacation I can arrange. When I rush home on the red-eye after a business trip I get home exhausted and then find myself struggling even harder to catch up -- and dreading the next business trip.
I have learned from the time I was a little boy, that there’s no dessert until after dinner. I can’t really enjoy play time until after the work days are over. So for me, I almost always schedule those “extra days” after the work part of the trip is over. This past Las Vegas trip, I took one only one extra day. I had a few good meals, rested, walked -- even still had to do a little work. But I didn't mind because I was recharging before charging back to the airport. That turned out to be the most important day of the entire trip because it rejuvenated me.
And it seems to me a rejuvenated parent is a better parent. And rejuvenated business person is one that is significantly more successful.
Don’t you agree?