A Simple Lesson I Learned in Belize…

The fun has to end sometime.  I had a great two weeks traveling through Belize.   But now it’s time to buckle down and get some work done.

What’s interesting about this experience is it was the first time I’ve traveled without my laptop.  Plus I made the conscious choice to NOT use the Internet for anything besides booking hotels/activities.

So this trip gave me a 100% break from my online business.

Living the "Internet Lifestyle"
Living the "Internet Lifestyle"

Why did I do this?

I did it to have what’s known as a “Think Week” (or two weeks in my case.)

This is something Bill Gates has done for many years.

Twice a year, he locks himself in a room for a week and focuses on creative thinking.

From these think weeks, Gates has come up with many ideas that have helped improved the success of Microsoft.

Now I didn’t exactly lock myself in a room.  Instead I did a lot of things that recharged the old batteries.   I lounged on the beach.  I snorkeled and got to pet a nurse shark.  I hiked a few times; including a trip through a Jaguar preserve. I rented a car and drove around all of Belize. And I hopped across the border; spending a day in Guatemala.

Most importantly, I did a lot of thinking.

When I wasn’t actively doing something, I wrote pages of ideas that I’ll use to expand both my Internet business and personal life.

I’ve discovered the benefit of think week is disconnecting.  I love having an Internet business.  But sometimes you need to unplug from the Matrix.  Spending 365 days a year on the Internet is the quickest path to burn out.  Sometimes the best thing you can do is to take time off.

Now…disconnecting doesn’t mean you have to be lazy.

Instead it’s the perfect time to analyze an Internet business on a macro level.  Why do want one?  How can you improve it?  What can you do to make it better?  What are the actions that will take you to the next level?

All of these are questions that I was able to answer by taking a step back from my business.  Right now, I’m armed with dozens of lists/diagrams/plans that I’ll immediately use to improve both my professional and personal life.

What’s my point?

I think anyone can benefit from taking time off from the Internet.  You don’t necessarily have to go to another country to do this.  And you don’t even need a week off.

Instead, try this.  Designate one a day week where you don’t touch a computer.  No email.  No Internet.  And most certainly nothing related to your business.

Yes, you might lose a little bit of “work time.”  But what you’ll get back is so much more.  You’ll have time to think what you need to do to improve your business.  More importantly, you’ll have a renewed sense of energy and purpose.

I urge you to try to do a think week (or day) once in awhile.  You’ll discover it’s a great way to come up with breakthrough ideas for an Internet business.

Good luck!

ONE FINAL NOTE: I was hoping to post some pictures from my trip.  But my girlfriend has most of them on her camera.  So hopefully I’ll be able to post them for Saturday’s selection.

It was a great time, but I’m glad to be back!

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24 thoughts on “A Simple Lesson I Learned in Belize…”

  1. Welcome back, Steve! I’m looking forward to seeing the pictures. It sounds like you had a wonderful time. 🙂

    I can certainly appreciate the need to spend time away from the computer in order to work “on” your business instead of “in” your business. That’s when I get some of my best ideas. But I’ve never been gone for 2 weeks, so I can just imagine all the business goodness you’ve come up with!

    I am heading out for 5 days and I will bring my laptop with me to do some uninterrupted writing on my next project while waiting at the airports. Otherwise, I’ll be away from the Internet.

    Here’s to recharged batteries and new visions!

    • That is good! I am all for working when you need to/can. But it is also nice to have some time off. I really havent had that many days off that were even two in a row for the last 2 years of so. It has always been working vacations. Taking “real” time off was very productive, as well as restful! 🙂 I hope you enjoy yours!

  2. Hi Steve, First time checking out your site but the word Belize caught my attention. My husband and I are heading out for SIX months in Latin America with the hopes that we run in to enough WIFI to get connected when we need. Any suggestions for keeping stuff fresh when stuck in dead zones? We are not quite the business that you are yet but we have some loyal readers who want to stay in touch.

    Thanks and can’t wait for Belize.

    • Mellisa, I would think as long as you are near semi large cities you shouldn’t have issues. About 5 months ago I finished a solo, 8 month backpack through Europe. There were someday’s it was “tough” to find connectivity, but it was never, “impossible”.

      As for hints I would say work ahead. Get 4-5 posts ahead and use the “scheduling” feature. That way if you are in the boonies for a couple of day, no one may be the wiser. You can then work on your posts offline, post and schedule them next time you have a chance and rinse and repeat. You shouldn’t miss much if you do this. That way you maximize time “connecting” when you are able to be online.

      Good luck on your trip. You will have a great time I am sure! Belize was great!

  3. Steve

    Welcome back. Love the photo of ‘living the internet lifestyle.’ All you need to do is add it to the cover of an eBook with a title like: How To Earn $6,456,435 every day whilst working 15 minutes or less. Then you’ll be golden!

    Hmmm…an ideas week. That sounds cool. Have to work on that.


    • HaHa for sure. I almost wanted to bring my laptop…just to get a picture of me on the beach, sipping a fruity drink, living that, “internet lifestyle”. I am sure everyone who reads the site would, “get it” but I am not sure if a stranger would…lol

  4. Hi Steve, it sounds like you had an awesome time inBbelize, recharged the old batteries, and returning fighting fit and full to bursting with amazing ideas. Whilst I haven’t taken a full think week ala Bill Gates and your good self, I think it sounds like a very good idea, especially if like myself you are floundering a little bit about the next step to take with your online endeavours. I’m realising the working online can be somewhat addictive, and whilst you are doing lots you not always being your most productive or effective. I’ll be taking your advice and having a ‘think week’ real soon. Good to have ya back

    • Thanks Stacy,

      A little bit of re-charging certainly does work well for the old batteries. Even there it should not be all “play” though. This is essential to work too. Since you need to take the time to really dig in and THINK about long term stuff.

  5. Steve; sometimes the best thing to do is to take time off – I agree brother!

    I am glad to hear that you had a wonderful time in Belize and Guatemala. Most important of all, you feel refreshed and recharged and ready to get back into doing serious work (O:

    Can’t wait to see the photos man!

    • Thanks Adam! I am certainly ready to go now! 🙂 No pictures yet. I didn’t take the time to D/L them from girlfriends camera. I will have some soon though.

  6. Hi Steve
    Steven Covey called it sharpening the saw. We all need to build renewal time into our schedule. I’m not as evolved as you are. I have to travel with my laptop (plus a kindle and a half dozen books) when on vacation.

    • I usually do too (I did bring books of course). I had to really “force” myself not to bring the laptop. I knew even if I brought it just to “check in” once a a day, it would end up being 1-2 hours a day at minimum

  7. Always good advice to take some time off and take a step back. Then get the rum out of your system and get back to work with a fresh outlook 🙂

    How was Belize by the way? Am I mistaking or is their national language English?

    I just went to Costa Rica not too long ago and if they are anything alike (which I’m sure they are at least somewhat) then I am sure you were in paradise.

    • I did go to Costa Rica on a trip a few years ago, and yes they are similar in many ways, except as you pointed out, English is the native language in Belize. There were a few “sketchy” parts of town I felt a little bit uncomfortable with. But besides that it was really awesome.

  8. Hmm, a short post? I was already readying, while I was looking at the title on my reader, for a long haul reading session.

    Now, on topic: I don’t think I am able to take such a long vacation because of the problem I get on a weekly base, which I have to solve prompto. But I do think that a vacation every once in a while, even if it’s 3-4 days is a blessing and can help you create new ideas and ways of growing, maintaining and getting more out of your business. Also, I don’t know why but vacations make you think more clearly about the bigger stuff like: “does this business has a future” “can I start doing something better” etc.

    Glad you enjoyed your vacation, I now envy you!

    • HAHA, Yes, a “simple lesson” would have been the perfect time to write up one of those 3,000 word epic posts.

      I understand. Sometimes there really are real life things that MUST be dealt with too frequently to really take a whole week off. YOu should work toward getting the ability to have that level of “freedom” though. At least 2-3 days even will give you a little time to decompress and think of the big picture.

  9. Hi Steve

    Welcome back and so good to hear you had a good break. Although anyone visiting here who didn’t know you would hardly know you have been away. With your organisational skills with the posts and Gene doing such a great job of replying to our comments, it all looked good.

    I’m not at the point in my business to be able to take too long off. Still in the middle of a project (I don’t work as fast as some of you experienced marketers) although I try to have breaks like tomorrow I will be offline for most of the day. I am realising it is necessary to maintain momentum and continue to enjoy my journey.

    Patricia Perth Australia

    • Thanks Patricia,

      Glad you were happy with the posts and didn’t notice the lack of me being gone. Really that is the way a smooth running operation should be, so that is actually a big compliment! thanks!

      Maintaining momentum is great. I certainly do not advocate taking time off if it breaks that flow. Sometimes just mixing those little days off is more than enough to recharge the batteries and think about where you’re going. Everybody is own style and things that works for them, the only essential factor is that at some point periodically everyone steps back and really tries to get a grasp of the “big picture”.

      It get so easy to focused on the trees sometimes it is hard to see the forest around you.

  10. Cool, that’s what I call ‘enjoy your life’. At the beginning I spend many hours in front of my laptop without get proper rest, until I must go to hospital in the midnight for checking my stomach. Doctor said that I must drink water a lot to get well. 3 days in bed make me rethinking the purpose of my work. Why I must spend my hard earned money for hospital and medication. Recharge my energy with family is my favorite session right now. Good post.

    • I hear ya, a few years back I was hospitalized for stress for a few days. (partially personal, partially business related). It is easy to put too much on top of yourself trying to be a success. In the long run it does lead to burnout and perhaps overall lower productivity because of that. I work a fair amount of long hard days, but I deftly advocate taking the time off when you have the chance and/or need to.

      Thanks for your comment Alam!

  11. Hi, Scott!
    Yes, you made think this morning about the holiday I am not going to have this year, unfortunately, because I have a lot of work and projects to catch up. Are there any other solutions to get away from daily work or at least internet, blogs, facebook, twitter and all that, at least for a weekend? I have tried that a couple of times, but without success..

  12. Steve – Love the post. My wife’s father busted the hump in his biz every day while building it and told me that he always managed to take the family on a trip for a week every year. He stated that not only was it great for the family but the break away recharged him. I myself just got back on a nine day trip to Italy and Greece and would not have traded it for anything. Not only did I have the quality time with my son but I was free to think without the bother of a TV or other distractions. Ok ,there was TV but it was all Greek to me. I had the time to journal ideas and to just take the time to plan. I have also done the same in doing a over night trip with my wife for the sole purpose of planing for the year. Alright maybe there was some other plans also but we did our plans first. I have also taken to just setting aside a half hour a day for me.
    P.S. Picking the right place for think week is also a key point. Great choice for location

    • Paul,

      Absolutely. Sometimes breaks really con be productive for work purposes. The family aspect is one i didnt mention, but really damn important, isn’t that the whole reason to work hard. It would be a shame to bust your ass for years only to realize you missed everything important.

  13. I really enjoyed this post. I am on a three week vacation in Panama City which has allowed me to re-energize myself. I must admit that I have been making my regular post and on the laptop, but not as much.

    I look forward to seeing those pictures of Belize.

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