Have you ever walked past one of those airport charging kiosks for phones and thought, “Man, I wish there was one for me”? Well, I have, and in July I decided to recharge by taking a two-week vacation. For the first time in my 30-plus years with The Nolan Company, I stayed home. No Disneyland, no trips to Napa; I just stayed home.

Even though I was in vacation mode, I was up early every morning and checked a few e-mails, but I stayed away from the office.

Surprisingly, I enjoyed it. Many people who work in fast-paced roles tend to thrive on activity, and I’m no exception. My solution was to engage in relaxing activities, such as a visit to Fenway with my son and nephew to see the Red Sox play. At the end of the two weeks, I felt great. I discovered that I had subconsciously developed some new thinking on a few active projects, and I also set out to renew contact with some past clients. I had a renewed clarity of thought that was palpable and directly attributable to the downtime I had engineered. Creating this outcome can in itself be a challenge. Finding that environment where you can truly really relax is not always easy.

As leaders we have an obligation to our companies and ourselves to find ways to recharge.  And we must encourage our employees to do the same.  My advice is to break routines; get away and disconnect from rituals of “a day at the office.” Turn off the voicemail and email and rely on the support of your team to cover things while you’re away.  (You’d do the same for them of course.) Turn on your automatic reply email so that people know you are away. They’ll understand if you don’t get back to them right away. Try this total disconnect and see what it does for your personal well-being and your long-term effectiveness at work — you may be surprised!

P.S.: A note of caution — my wife informed me that her workload increased dramatically during my two-week respite. Now she’s planning a vacation!