A long (cool) vacation.
Last Friday, Kia and I returned with our family from a 12 day vacation. It’s the longest vacation we’ve had in years, and it marks the 2nd double digit vacation we’ve taken this year. It’s one of the priorities we set when we attended the Storyline Conference in June of 2011.
My uncle owns a home in Silverthorne, Colorado that we were able to stay in that entire time. Minus 2 days for travel, this was 10 solid days of no “work”. The time away was incredible! While friends and family were wilting away in 100+ degree weather, we were enjoying 80 degree mountain air.
Back to reality.
Monday, I woke up to reality – writing, bills, kid activities, work, etc. I had to fight through the “I don’t want to go to work today!” blues. As I was struggling to get back to normal, a thought popped into my mind:
I need to take breaks. I don’t need to be idle.
This is what I mean…
The first week of the vacation, I read and thought a lot. I had lots of ideas for writing or business run through my head. I wrote some of them down…others are gone forever. I considered turning ideas into drafts, but I let it go.
The second week was worse. I did nothing (work related). My idle time was spent playing games on my phone. I wasn’t even reading!
I was able to relax, which is good, but I lost precious time to grow. I also lost momentum pushing me forward.
3 ways to take a break without being idle
The old saying goes “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” Whether or not that is true can be debated. One thing I do know is too much idle time will set you backwards. Here are 3 ways that you can take time off without being completely idle (continue to move forward).
1. Take a little work with you.
One of Kia’s favorite quotes while we’re on vacation comes from Gretchen Rubin at the Happiness Project.
Doing a little work makes goofing off more fun.
This trip was rare. I had absolutely nothing to do in the 2 weeks I was gone. I managed to complete everything I needed done beforehand. I did put out one small fire, but nothing that needed my full attention.
Had I brought one or 2 little chores to do, I might stayed engaged.
2. Undertake a creative project.
I have come to love iPhoneography. It’s part of the reason I love Instagram. Normally, on a trip like this I have a few apps I’m learning on my iPhone or iPad. This vacation I did nothing to push myself. I took photos. I edited them but not in a new way.
I could have challenged myself to develop 15 new writing topics. I could have figured out that podcast I’ve told myself I’m going to do. I could have immersed myself in any number of creative projects, but I didn’t.
A great way to take a break, but keep busy (and continue to learn) is to challenge yourself to do something creatively out of your box.
3. Start AND finish a project.
One of my strengths (according to Strengths Finder 2.0) is being an achiever. A full 2 weeks of not achieving anything (other than a beautiful 7 mile hike) leads to frustration. I wrote down some fun ideas. I dreamed even more great thoughts. I read some interesting information. I followed through on nothing.
This point goes along with both #1 and #2. The key difference is following through and finishing the work you’ve brought and/or the creative project you’ve challenged yourself with.
The great thing about reading is your body can be idle, while your mind is hard at work. The first week of vacation I read several blogs (caught up on them), I read the 4th book in the Game of Thrones series (A Feast for Crows) and an old sci-fi book in the vein of 1984 – The Handmaid’s Tale.
The 2nd week I quit. I tried to get started on a couple of books, but couldn’t do it. I know leaders read, and readers lead. A great way to get reading done is to do it on vacation.
Make use of your time off
Hopefully, you have time off scheduled in the next few weeks. When you take time off for vacation or a re-charge, make sure that you take a break, but are not idle.
How do you stay “busy” when taking time off?
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