“Vacation days” or “days off” isn’t really something that I know much about. Even as my wife and I have planned “time off” we’ve always agreed that I’ll be doing some work super-early in the morning or even late at night.
The reality is that I’m never fully away from the projects that I’m working on or the companies that I’m working for. This is not to say that this is right or wrong but rather it is the lifestyle that my family has agreed works for us.
I have attempted to be fully “off” in the past and I have found it to be an untenable situation, uncomfortable, and riddled with anxiety and even fear.
To be honest, it’s because I really do enjoy my work and I get a lot of pleasure out of it. I am also not entirely sure what to do with myself when I’m not working on my projects because I am mentally still thinking about them constantly.
The disconnect between my mind and my hands creates a disruption in my “sequencing” and it generates a paralyzing level of anxiety. But, before you crucify me and tell me that I’m working at an unhealthy pace in an unhealthy manner it’s worth noting that I take “time off” every single day.
Instead of these long stretches of time I have found a cadence and rhythm that really works for me. There are stretches during the day and week where I am “off” and I’m reading books on my shelf or watching my favorite movies or simply engaging, as best as I can, with my children.
It’s not “normal” (but what is truly “normal” these days?!) but I can tell you that it works for me and for my family. Taking time off from my work should a consequence of you finding the right pace for your own work and matched with the lifestyle that you’d like to live in regards to that work.
It shouldn’t be some “reward” for the work that you’ve done but, I think, it should be in reverse. Your work should be the reward for taking the time required to get your mind, body, and spirit right with all the rest of your own individual world.
This means, of course, that you’re doing something worth doing and that you do, in fact, enjoy your work immensely. If you don’t then how could you possibly imagine that those “vacation days” would actually serve you in the best way possible? Everything’s already off kilter, misaligned, and so work and play and rest is all sub-optimal.
Create your way of doing “time off” and whatever it is make sure that it works.