Vacation | Behavior Matters!

Tag: Vacation

Taking some time to recharge

I feel that it is important that we take time for ourselves to recharge.  When I say that, I mean more than just finding the ten minutes a day to have some quiet time or even an hour a day to exercise (although both of these things help).

I mean that we are able to fully disengage from our main line of work for a week.

I just did this – I took a vacation!

Yes, I checked in on e-mail a few times (and even posted here), but for the most part, I took the time off and enjoyed my family, relaxed, forgot about real life and absolutely enjoyed myself.

I recommend this to everyone.

I think it also:

  • Recharges us – coming back from vacation, I feel much more motivated to do work.  It feels new again.
  • Refocuses us – time off allows us to refocus our energies.  I think that it provides a perspective that allows us to better identify the important tasks that we need to do.  It helps us prioritize!
  • Enlarges us – we come back with new experiences that help us look at things differently and I would say more creatively.  We tend to grow in different ways while we are on vacation.  This gives us a broader
  • Encourages us – this time for ourselves makes us realize that work is an important part of who and what we are.  I tend to miss it when on vacation (or at least parts of it).
  • Reminds us – of the reason that we work – both the intrinsic aspects that make us appreciate the work we do as well as the extrinsic aspects that provide us the means to take a vacation.  It makes you realize that there is more to life than just work – but how important work is to our life.
  • Inspires us – I had the opportunity to spend a week with one of the nicest, most thoughtful, most resilient  people I’ve ever had the opportunity to  meet.  His life story and his attitude on life inspired me.  We get the opportunity when we take time off to be inspired by any number of different elements.
  • Connects us – to new people, new places, new ideas.  We come back from our time away with more connections that can serve us well in the upcoming days, months, years…

So make sure that you take time off to recharge yourself.  Make sure that you don’t shortchange your vacation, or miss it, or do too much work over it.  Remember…the time off is important to our overall motivation and well being!

I’m sure there are many more positive aspects to taking time off.  Please let us know your thoughts on this.

South Dakota

I just spent the last week in South Dakota with my family.  It was a needed break from the day-to-day stuff that has been going on for the last six months.

A time to unwind and relax.  A time to reconnect and think.  A time to focus on things other than work and obligations…


Buffalo at Wind Cave National Park


I’ve talked taking time off before in order to recharge ourselves (see here: refreshabbatical).  I’ve realized that it is very important that we do this – and yet it is so hard.  I wanted to take the time off completely – without checking in or doing any work.

Oh well…

I ended up needing to be on some conference calls, figuring out a problem with one of our rental units, and checking back into see how an issue was being resolved at work.  As a result I was up way earlier than I wanted to be while on vacation.   Putting it mildly, that sucked.  Setting an alarm for 5:00 AM while on vacation to take a conference call is not my idea of fun.

But by doing it early,  I was able to spend all day with the family – every day.

And I didn’t check twitter, or my blog, or the internet or even the news.  It was almost blissful!

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The plan was to take this week off and use it to get some much needed down time and relaxation.  I was going to use it as a mini refreshabattical and recharge my batteries, get a fresh perspective on the upcoming months and years, and maybe even have some fun.

I had intended to go to the Minneapolis Institute of Art and actually get to spend time there without feeling rushed; take a few walks around Lake of the Isles or Lake Calhoun – maybe sit on a bench and just watch the people go by; spend a few hours in the garden; go to a daytime Twins game at the new stadium; sit back with a drink on the front porch in the afternoon and say hi to all my neighbors; go camping for a night with my four year old son; take some time to do some fun reading and writing…but then, real life comes crashing in.  A client  decides that they finally need to finish some compensation plan books that we started in January – and now there are changes that require significant rework.  Tenants call and complain about sash cords being broken – and need them fixed now (even though they’ve been that way for a few months).  Dissertation committee needs to have a draft of Chapter 5 – sooner than expected.

So much for my relaxing week.

I have to say that I started to feel pretty bummed out about this yesterday.  I had these expectations for this week and those expectations were definitely not being met (not even close to it).  Then I started to really think about it – was this week that bad?

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It seems as though in this day and age, everyone is busy – and I mean busy.   We go from project to the next or possibly have them going on at the same time.   The need to get things done faster, with less resources, and with higher impact is making us feel like there are not enough hours in the day or days in the week.  We are becoming a nation that is stressed out and on the edge of burnout.   I know that I am.

What is necessary is to be able to take some time to slow down and relax.  To refresh…

Of course that is harder than it appears.  We are no longer able to take a day off and play golf or go to the cabin without still being hooked in.  Our cell phones and laptops, while wonderful tools, keep us plugged in no matter were we go.  We cannot escape the e-mail or phone call  that requires our attention NOW!!  Even if we do escape to some backwater place where we don’t get cell phone coverage or there is no wi-fi, we often have the stress of multiple projects and deadlines looming over us that keep us up at night.  None of this is good or healthy.

So what do we do?  How can we refresh ourselves?’

What we need is some serious down time.  Some time for ourselves to let our minds and body’s calm down and rejuvenate.  This is not a vacation (vacations often only add in more stress and pressure).  This is a time to slow down and allow ourselves an opportunity to vegetate.  To feel like we did in Junior High over the summer when the most pressure we had was to make sure we got home in time for dinner.  It is time that many people might call “wasted” time because it is unproductive – but I feel that it is time that is needed to repair and invigorate so that we can be productive.

I can attest that this isn’t easy and that I’ve never actually fully achieved it – but I’m going to try.  Here is my plan…

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Motivation Vacation – Work Productivity on the Rise before the Fourth of July


The Fourth of July, Independence Day holiday is almost upon us and many Americans will enjoy some time off from work: spending time with their families, having a picnic in the park, or simply enjoying a local fireworks show. Have you ever noticed what happens to work productivity right before a holiday or a vacation? Does it increase dramatically? The motivator may be making sure projects and clients will be well taken care of while you are gone or simply wanting a guilt free holiday or vacation.

I have noticed an increase in my work productivity right before I go on vacation or before a holiday. It is part of the process I go through and one I actually enjoy.

What, did I just say that? Yes, I enjoy taking care of loose ends, transferring project details, and cleaning up my massive piles of papers on my desk.

I love the feeling of letting go and not worrying about every little thing because I have been diligent about making sure I have a back up person in place in case something happens while I am away. Therefore, the work involved, making sure I have communicated to the right people, projects files have been shared, and worst case scenarios have been thought through is neither easy nor simple.  But it is a necessary part of the vacation or holiday process.

Today if you catch yourself staring at the massive piles of papers on your desk or daydreaming about the fireworks show you may see on the Fourth of July don’t be alarmed, take a deep breath and find your inner motivational muse. I double dog dare you to take the first step of clearing up the clutter in your work life in order to make way for the wave of freedom that is coming your way tomorrow.

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