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Why Our Team of 60 is Taking 7 Days Off

December 15, 2016

I remember a time when I didn’t have to tell myself to not check email or to stop thinking about work. I had a button, and it turned on and off. I could quickly relax, unwind, let my mind get creative, enjoy friends – all without worrying if Monday’s new lunch menu will be a hit or daydreaming about our upcoming tech release.

When we started Sifted, everything changed. I found something I loved, and I was working with someone (and now many someones) I adored. The fact that people were trusting me with their future and buying into my personal dream started to fuel me to always be looking and moving forward. Work, though long, tiring and heavy became incredibly fulfilling, challenging and intoxicating. Many find this significance in their field or profession or in their roles with their family. It becomes an identity that’s hard to quiet.

We’re creatures of habit, which makes it hard to slow down when we’ve become so comfortable moving so fast. Our resistance to slowness, wrapped up in long hours, weekends and constant communication doesn’t grant us success, gratitude and deep fulfillment. Often the real reason we refuse to slow down is because we don’t know what will happen when we do.

What will we have to say for our one year side hustle that turned into three? The experiment that became a living, breathing company? Are we proud of the way we’ve grown the brand? Does Sifted’s identity transcend different cities? Does our team of 60 know how much we care about them? Have we paused to think about the really hard choices we had to make this year?

Year one, Kimberly and I took a week off between Christmas and New Years. We used this time to focus on a side project and help a family member. The rewards were great. We had just started moving forward with Sifted and the time we devoted to being creative for someone else only helped us further articulate where Sifted was going. Year two, we took the same week break with our small team of six. That year, we started the time off with a “treat yourself” day and implemented the practice of group brainstorming.

This year, things looked different. We have clients all across the U.S., many of which will be working most of the week, and therefore eating lunch. We have big goals and a nearing expansion that feel like they don’t have a pause button. And our team is 10 times the size.

There are three things you’ll hear me talking a lot about with my team:

  1. Self-care (this is where our Sifted family finds our energy)
  2. Empowerment (you’ve given your all to us, let’s help you get where you’re going next)
  3. Learning from the mistakes of our predecessors (because let’s be real, food delivery is hard to get right)

Knowing I want these three things to define how I lead, choosing to take this week off made total sense.

We’re turning a habit into a ritual. We’re embracing this week of rest as who we are because we want to be kind to ourselves, trace our growth and ask the hard questions. We know that time with family, friends, exploring, cooking, laughing, sitting: these are the secrets to a rich life and a renewed mind.

We’ve all taken vacation this year, some more restful experiences than others, but there’s something harmonious about us all taking these days together. There’s also something pretty restorative of taking this break at the end of the year. We’ve each grown immensely these past 365 days. Four of our team members became dads. One graduated from college. One opened a coffee shop. One backpacked the Grand Canyon. We spent over 100 days in a hotel. We moved away from our home of 6 years.

When we don’t slow down and stop, our brains and our bodies can’t process the growth we’ve experienced through all of the toil. We can’t see that we’re changing or where we are heading.

So, we drew a hardline and made a CHOICE for self-care and empowerment, remembering that we are never so smart or hardworking that we can’t benefit from a true break. I’m looking forward to hearing the discoveries of my team. Will someone be emboldened to take a step in 2017 towards their dream? Will a Netflix binge be all it takes to unwind? Will someone go somewhere they’ve never been before? Will one of our chefs enjoy a meal cooked for them for once? In the non-work, the slowness, the self-expression, the rest, the play, we’ll each become more like ourselves and find the deep energy for 2017 that can only come from ceasing to strive.