Have you heard the good news? A recent study shows that working in a crowded coffee shop fires up your creativity. Even better, my own personal research shows that going on vacation helps you fire up your marketing.
My clients are hard-working people. They are, like me, often on the clock at odd hours. It’s not something I’m proud of (or, even like to admit), but I’ve been known to take conference calls at 10PM and frequently use Saturday as the sixth day of the workweek. I am, however, making an effort to reclaim some of my R&R time. Based on recent experiences, I’ve decided it’s the smart thing to do. Getting out of town amps up my clarity and creativity. I’m betting it can do the same for you, so here – in an effort to both inspire you and also give you an easy way to justify taking a break – are my top six reasons why going vacation improves your marketing:
You can get some rest.
Sleeping in. Hammock-y naps. Oceanside siestas. These are some of my favorite vacation perks. Last year, my beau and I spent a few lovely days in old Quebec City. It was February and very cold. We had a gorgeous room at the Frontenac, overlooking the icebound river. After bone chilling walks through the cobbled streets, we spent a couple of afternoons curled up on the kingsize bed, gazing out the window at the gray scene beyond until we drifted effortlessly to sleep. We had nothing to do, nowhere to be, no one waiting on us for anything. It was the simplest of pleasures and the most decadent. Perhaps even more than a full night’s sleep, a mid-afternoon nap does something to restore the soul. We rarely treat ourselves to such a gift when we are at home, but on vacation, there are all kinds of opportunities for guilt-free snoozing. A rested mind and body leads to clarity of thought, higher levels of creativity, and better humor – all beneficial to your marketing.
A change will do you good. (So says Sheryl Crow.)
It’s so easy to get stuck in our day-to-day ruts, I mean routines. Whether your daily grind includes the same commute or the same pattern of chasing the kids into their clothes so you can get them off to school or camp or wherever, familiarity can be a fruitful breeding ground for ennui, lethargy, and complacency. Experiencing someplace new can jolt you out of the same old-same old. Even if you’re only one town away from home, that can be enough to change your perspective and spark new ideas … ideas that might be about how to kick some ass with your marketing.
You can unplug.
I know it’s hard. You can carry your whole digital world around on your handy-dandy smartphone/iPad/laptop. Don’t. I beg of you – don’t. A vacation is the perfect time to disengage from email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and whatever other electronic tethers you might have. My beau and I just got back from a few days in Acadia National Park with my daughter. Though I admit to checking my email a few times, I did (in my opinion, my beau might think differently) an admirable job of staying unplugged. The best part of extracting ourselves from all the buzz and banter of our digital world is how quiet it gets. It gets so quiet that – hark! – you can almost hear yourself think. Yes … I think … wait – it’s coming in loud and clear now – the answer to that question that’s been hounding me for weeks. The solution has been simmering on the back burner of my brain, and now that it’s quiet, the answer just came up and whispered itself in my ear. Being able to tune into your own thoughts is a very good thing for your marketing.
You’ll practice talking to other human beings.
I know – you talk to human beings all day – on the phone, on Twitter, via your blog. All of that is nice, but a) if you’re following the previous bit of advice you won’t be plugged into all that chatter and b) the art of the face-to-face conversation is one I’d hate to see us lose. As a solopreneur who works from her home office, I find that most of my interactions take place over the phone or online. Going on vacation gives me the chance to engage with people IRL. (That’s “in real life” for those of you who have not yet succumbed to the textaholics world of acronyms.) Whether the conversations are small talk with strangers or long, heart-to-hearts with your traveling companions, each opportunity to communicate on this level is a good thing for your marketing. It reminds us how to connect with people (marketing), how to listen to them (marketing), and how to tell our stories (marketing).
You’ll probably get OUTSIDE.
Though I love my cozy office and the bustling coffee shop downtown, there is something about immersing myself in the great outdoors that rejuvenates me like nothing else. More than rest or pampering or cultural indulgences, getting outside brings me back to center. I’m not talking about a simple walk around the block. I’m talking about really getting into the thick of the natural world – a three-hour walk along the beach, a six hour hike up (and down!) a mountain, a day-long meander through the forest or along a river. Mother Nature has all kinds of ways to heal and strengthen both body and mind. From good, old fresh air to the adrenaline rush of a challenging rock climb or sailing expedition to the insightful reflections brought on by the quiet and vastness of the world beyond our urban territory. Some of the biggest treasures I take away from my time in the great outdoors are the metaphors that I discover – metaphors for life, love, and – you guessed it – marketing.
You’ll remember what turns you on.
Last, but certainly not least, vacations help us reconnect with the things that really turn us on. When we’re on holiday, we make choices based on what we want to do, not what we need to do or think we should do. You suddenly remember all the things that you love to do and why you love to do them. You start to get excited and enthusiastic again – and that is one of your secret marketing weapons.
So, those are my favorite ways to justify more vacation time. What are yours?
If you’re curious about some of the marketing metaphors inspired by my past vacations and day-to-day immersion in Mother Nature’s playground, you may want to check out my series, Mama Nature’s Marketing Tips. Go ahead – take a walk on the wild side. You never know what might inspire you.