Some people have to be forced to take vacation. Some even feel guilty or “irresponsible.”  Others rack up unused vacation time for its monetary value. Still others see honor in putting their job ahead of a timely break.

Whatever your reason for not taking regular vacations, it can’t measure up to the benefits you and your job receive when you put business aside and give yourself a rest.

Regular vacations not only give you and your people a healthy recharge, they actually help your business. A good policy is to make vacation mandatory and start with yourself.

Here are some suggestions we’ve discovered to get the most out of your vacation:

1. Take two weeks in a row. Long weekends are great, and they certainly break up the year, but an extended vacation is required to really wind down. After a week, you’re finally relaxed enough to start to really enjoy yourself. So do!

2. Put a buck on it. Plan the trip. Buy a ticket. Make reservations. The minute you do, you’ll know your vacation is going to happen. Even if its 6 months away, you are no longer working “indefinitely!”

3. Count down and prioritize your work. You only have so much time to get your work done before you leave. Decide what needs to be completed before you go and what can wait until you get back.

4. Make an announcement to your coworkers, customers and vendors. You will notice a new sense of urgency on the part of all who depend on you. People will be more willing to make accommodations to help you make your vacation date.

5. Spend a day or two at home. Decompress. Take a breath and realize that you are now going to do something different. It’s not what you leave; it’s what you return to. So straighten out your home office as well. The comfort of knowing you will return to a well-organized home front will be well worth it!

6. Go somewhere and stay put. Many folks like to see how many places they can see in a week or two. You may need a vacation just to recuperate from the wild, whirl wind tour. It not necessarily how much you see, it’s how much you relax.

7. Unplug – literally. Take at least a period of time to be unconnected. Get your eyes off the screen and your mind off work for several consecutive days. Focus on your new surroundings.

8. Watch your diet. Be careful not to over do it with food and drink. Why wake up with a headache and indigestion on your vacation? Give your body a break, too.

9. Get some exercise. Make it a point to walk or even hike if you are in shape. Get around on your feet as much as possible. Remember you are probably sitting most of the time at your job.

10. Read something positive. Try not to keep up with the world. It will go on just fine without you staying up on the latest crisis. You will hear about the really important things anyway.

11. Make a soft landing. Spend your last full day at home. Take some time to unpack and enjoy your pictures. Get caught up at your own pace before you go back to work.

You will increase your objectivity, focus, creativity, and production with a timely break. If you still have a hard time justifying your vacation, do it to benefit your job and your business. You’ll thank yourself for doing it!

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Who We Are.

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.