It all started several years ago; my wife came home from work one evening in October and announced: “I’ve had enough of this English weather, we’re going to take a holiday somewhere warm – Canary Islands are inexpensive right now. End of the month OK?”
Of course, working for myself I don’t actually have to ask anybody else about taking time off – but at that particular time I was up to my eyes in it. One client dealing with a thorny governance issue, one of my businesses in the throes of handling a major customer dispute, and a whole load of website revisions needed for the coaching business. So – rather bravely I thought – I said I could absolutely not afford to take the time off.
While dealing with the resultant fallout (in fairness, Daniela was very reasonable about it, more disappointment than anything) I came across an article about “worlidays” – a delicious way to combine work and a holiday. Basically working, but in a much nicer location! I realised that pretty much everything I had to do could be done via Skype, email or the web, I wasn’t tied to my office to do it. So Lanzarote it was, a couple of weeks later – an apartment with wifi access so I could work, while Daniela enjoyed the scenery and the sunshine. In practice, I worked in the sun on the terrace from breakfast until lunch, and then we went off around the island in the afternoons, blending work and holiday.
The Winter Worliday has now become a regular feature of our lives – once the British weather turns rotten and the dark evenings close in, we take ourselves off to sunnier climes for a bit and I keep my business up to date over the internet. It’s a great time to get into the more thoughtful, strategic stuff too, away from the immediate pressures of the office – over the years I’ve rewritten capture pages in the Canaries, and outlined my next book in Bali.
I firmly believe that it is no longer necessary to “balance” work and life – for me, as for many business owners, there is really no simple divide between the two, work is part of having fun, and it’s all part of life. I prefer to think in terms of blending work and life, blurring the supposed boundaries, to create a whole that I can enjoy the entirety of, all the time. As Ricardo Semler put it in a TED Talk: “We’ve all learned how to go on Sunday night to email and work from home. But very few of us have learned how to go to the movies on Monday afternoon.”
I’m fortunate, I suppose, in that I can do the majority of my work from anywhere. That’s by design – I choose to arrange my work so that I am free to take off at regular intervals. But it wasn’t always that way, I have consciously made the changes that make it possible. I am far from alone in that.
And it’s not just “Internet Marketers” who can achieve it – very little of my work is what I would really call ‘Internet Marketing’. Sure I use the internet to deliver some of my programmes, and I certainly use the internet and social media to attract interest to them, but I very rarely ‘make a sale’ without a personal interaction with my new client – whether that’s in real life or over Skype or Hangouts. These days, there are very few businesses where you can’t do a high proportion of the work remotely – possibly only hands-on therapies and bricks-and-mortar retail actually require you to be there all the time.
So before you throw your hands in the air in desperation at the prospect of abandoning your business for a family holiday, or worse, tell your long-suffering partner that you simply cannot take time off right now, just consider how you could make “worlidays” a part of your particular blend of work and life.