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The No Excuses Vacation

By Gail Z. Martin

Every year, when warm weather rolls around, you’ll hear them. They’re the ones bragging about how long it’s been since they went on a vacation, as if being a workaholic is a badge of honor.  If you’re terribly unlucky, you’ll be in a room with two or more of these folks, and they’ll start to compete for the dubious honor of who doesn’t have a life.

To that, I say…”Piffle.”

Non-stop work is a recipe for burnout, inefficiency, sluggish thinking, and illness.  Often, it results from a fear that if you can leave the office for a week or more, you become indispensable, and it’s often coupled with an inability to delegate.  More often than not, in my experience, workaholics and non-vacationers are using their overwhelm to keep from thinking about another, deeper problem—a family issue, financial disarray, or relationship problems.

What if you’re short on cash and you’re a one-person shop?  You still owe it to yourself to plan some downtime into your year.  A vacation needs to be a mental and physical rest, but nothing says it has to be long or pricey.

Designate a specific weekend as a no-work zone.  If you’re a gadget junkie, unplug yourself, leave your electronics on the kitchen counter, and spend a day out and about.  Do something you enjoy.  Maybe that’s a walk in the woods, a long drive with the radio blaring, a quiet afternoon spent in a comfortable chair at a coffeehouse with a good book.  Wander through a museum, get some fresh air at a nearby state or national park, or go sit on a dock and watch boats go by.

The point is, disengage from your normal routine, your usual worries, and your day-to-day mental rut.  Don’t stress out about trying not to think about work.  When you find that you’re thinking about work, observe what is happening, and let it go, as if your thoughts are clouds moving past ib the sky.

Whenever I do this, I find that by the end of my no-work zone, my mind is suddenly full of creative solutions to all the things I worried about beforehand.  I’m able to go back to the office with exciting ideas, and I’m mentally and physically refreshed.

Why not try a no-excuses vacation for yourself this season and see what a change of pace can do for you?

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