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Not optional.

When we work for ourselves  there can be a temptation to maximize every possible work opportunity. And financially this may be a good thing most of the time.

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs forget the importance of balance, a life after work, and the need for intellectual down time.

I love my job most days, which makes me more fortunate than most. I generally like my clients and the work I do. But I never forget why I do what I do. That is to allow me to live my life on my own terms and to get the most possible out of if. You can’t do that if you allow yourself to be permanently chained to your computer, no matter how beautiful the view. Real, actual downtime is critical to enjoying the rest of your job.

In our house we enjoy the winter holidays. Personally I’m all about twinkly multicolored lights, snow I don’t have to drive in, and a universally accepted excuse to eat with abandon things I usually shun. So one of our permanent, long standing holiday traditions is to close the office, check email only once or twice in a week (or, you know, maybe once a day but don’t tell anyone) and cast off our servitude to the business phones.

With proper advance planning there are very few businesses where a vacation isn’t easily arranged. If you’re Brian Harris and run a heating and air conditioning repair service its likely that an extended winter holiday vacation may not work so well as heat is a critical function, but there’s always June and September, before a/c and after heat on the seasonal calendar.

Personally I’ll be back in January all the better for a week or so of sybaritic abandon.