Get away from it all

Get away from it all

Want to love your job 10 years from now? A little time away could make the critical difference.
Jul 01, 2006

I'm sure many of you have read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Literally millions of people have since Stephen Covey's influential book hit the business leadership/life management scene in 1989. Well, as you may remember, the 7th habit is to sharpen the saw, or take time for self-renewal.

The metaphor Covey uses goes something like this: A man is sawing through a giant log. The work is going slowly, because the saw he's using is dull. But he says he doesn't have time to stop and sharpen it, because he has so much work to do.

That's me. (And maybe some of you.) I need to go on vacation, so I can come back to work and tackle my goals refreshed. I need time to think instead of just do, so I see the solution I'm too busy to step back and find. What's worse, I know this. And still I don't get it done.

Planning a vacation is actually kind of an accomplishment for me. Summers are busy for us. We're preparing for the State of the Industry Report, the launch of the new Well-Managed Practice Study, and CVC Central, all in August. I can't remember whether I've ever taken a whole week off in the summer. I'm sure some of you identify.

This is particularly embarrassing given my passionate assertions that everyone needs to take time off. In fact, five years ago, I set a goal to take a month off in 2007. I have to say, I don't think I'll achieve that.

Thinking even bigger, my dad, who's a professor at Kansas State University, took sabbaticals. My family moved to San Diego for a year and, another time, to Seattle for a year so he could work on new techniques. I find the idea of spending a year learning something new and working with a new group of people very inspiring.

In that spirit, I've been suggesting sabbaticals here for 12 years. All the people who've been here longer think they're first in line if the opportunity ever opens up. Go figure.

I know the idea of a year off probably sounds a little crazy, but roughly 11 percent of large companies now offer paid sabbaticals to employees and another 29 percent offer unpaid sabbaticals, according to a recent article on So it could happen. Before I die, even.

Marnette Denell Falley
Until I win that prize, I need to work on shorter escapes. A vacation in the summer is a decent start. And I actually have one planned. Finding a way to fit in more scheduled thinking time is really also a must. I'll work on that when I get back.

I love my job. I do the right thing for me. I know most of you would say the same thing. The key is making sure we all feel the same way 10 years from now. And a little time away could make the critical difference.

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