Life for Geeks: Taking a Break

In case you haven't noticed, things have been pretty quiet around here for the last week. No, CaseySoftware didn't go under. In fact, just the opposite… we're expanding operations in a couple new areas by the end of the calendar year. This past week was a well-deserved and massively required break.

When you're running a small business, taking time off seems unlikely, even impossible. You know things are going to ex/implode while you're gone. More importantly, since you're often your own Business Development team, you know that taking time out can be devastating longer term… so here are some tips in making it happen.

  • First, schedule it far in advance. The farther the better. I scheduled this September trip sometime in April.
  • Second, you can schedule it to overlap with a holiday. If you can turn a four day weekend into a six, have you really cost yourself much?
  • Finally, have a backup plan. Who responds to email and the issues that will come up?

Alright, so all of those can be difficult at best and seem impossible 98% of the time. So is it really worth it? I would have to say unequivocally Yes. Taking time off can do a variety of things.

First, it can help you clear you project/product feature list. As developers, we sometimes have a desire to make everything perfect… especially when we know our work directly reflects upon and represents us. When you have a hard and fast deadline like this, you will have to prioritize. You will have to make tough decisions for what happenes before/after your break. Sometimes we need some external motivation to get rid of things. 😉

Second, it can help you clear your mind. When you are disconnected and email, im, text messages, and even your phone can't reach you, you have time to stop and consider things. You know what your strategy is today and probably for the next 30 days, but what about 3, 6, or 12 months from now?

Finally, you need a life. No, I know about your networking groups, your Pownce, Facebook, and Linked In addictions. I even know about your forum aliases… no, not those, the others ones. 😉 But the point of all of this is that you need to have time away from the computer and technology once in a while.

So in case you haven't guessed, I enjoyed my time away. I was able to drop quite a few silly things from my ToDo list that just weren't relevant any more. Next, I was able to make some decisions concerning product that make less sense now. Finally, I got reintroduced to that large yellow thing in the ceiling… er.. sky. Overall, it was well worth it… and I hope you can take a break soon too.