Why you don’t need to take vacations
„What the hell is that guy saying?!“ you might think. And then „How should I be able to recharge my batteries to be able to give 100% (or more) at my job?“ When I hear this, the big buzzer rings in my head. In the following I would like to give you my take on how, when and why you should (or should not) take a holiday – or in other words: How to organize your working life to become recharged every day and vacations are not an escape but a reward.
Recharge your batteries
Recharge your batteries? So I assume you drain them over a course of time, and then you need to pluck in your charging wires to be back at 100% again? So shortly before your trip to a sunny beach where you’ll slurp your mojitos you’re at 5% then? It doesn’t make sense, right? And I’m not even considering the „memory effect“ here. 😜 My take on this is easy: If you need to recharge your batteries, you’re doing it wrong. No one should have to recharge his or hers batteries. Every day you your „batteries“ should be fully loaded, and vacations shouldn’t be here to recharge, but to enjoy, reward and inspire.
When to take vacations
First of all – don’t take the vacations as a means to an end to fix your problem not being able to be energized and motivated in the first place. A flight to a relaxed island paradise should be a reward, an extension of your well-being, and not an escape from everyday stress. The holidays are your icing on your life’s cake.
Plan your vacations in such a way, that you can travel with a good feeling. Schedule it behind a go-live of a release or before the kick-off of a project. Don’t leave this planning to your superiors, but proactively take care of clever scheduling. Because it must be important to you not to travel stubbornly in the middle of a project, but when you can leave with a successful mindset and you are at all receptive to the inspiring impressions of your then well-deserved holidays.
How to make sure you’re always feeling (and actually being) productive
- Work flexible
Work when you perform the best. Is it at 22:00? Work then. Did you get to the office, and you realize you’re not getting shit done? Leave and enjoy the rest of the day. Note: If leaving early everyday becomes a habit, then you need to change your job situation. Quit your job.
- Lift heavy
Everyday office life is a way of working far away from human nature. We press keyboards and stare into luminous screens. In the long run this makes you unhappy and gives you the feeling of unproductivity. There is only one solution (and this applies to both women and men) Lift fucking heavy. It’s obvious, you come home late after a working day bursting with meetings and want just one thing: to turn off your brain and stare at the TV. The fallacy is: “Why would I stress my body now, I wont lift a finger – tomorrow I’ll be fit again”. Wrong! Right now you have to go to the gym and lift those weights. Pick yourself up and try it.
- Don’t plan too much
John Lennon once said
„Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.“
… and he’s so right. But It’s even worse: Not only are you missing out on life itself, but too much planning leads to higher risks of failing to fulfill those plans. So, set your goals short termed. Live day by day. What’s on the table today? Do it now. I guarantee you, once you start working like this, you’ll go home satisfied with the feeling of „today was a productive day“ every evening (or whenever you leave work.) By the way: There are helpful methodologies to work in this way. I suggest you take a look at „Getting things done„.
- Your home is your castle
There‘s nothing worse than getting home to a messy, uncleaned apartment or house. And it‘s really not helping that you live out of your laundry basket. Invest some time doing the work at home on a regular basis (and also here the GTD methodology is applicable: Do the dishes right after dinner, do the laundry right after the machine beeps etc.) Make sure you add some green plants to your home base and look well after them. Make sure you have separated sleeping and slacking spots.
- Eat lunch with your peers
Schedule a nice lunch break with your co-workers at least once a week. And: Don’t save money over your lunch. Make sure you eat healthy and varied!
Make sure you always have access to a fresh, cold bottle of water. In any case, there must always be a water bottle on your table ready to drink.
After a productive day, celebrate yourself. Be proud of your work. Think of what you‘ve achieved today. You are an expert and you should be proud of that.