Ignoring the Work

There aren’t many jobs that let you take a vacation as easily as this one. There’s no boss approving days off, and, aside from some questions about when the next book’s coming, nobody really holding you accountable for your time spent wandering off in your own mind. So when events yank you away from the keyboard and fill your days with high stress activities like walking on the beach, going snorkeling, and enjoying all-inclusive amenities, well, it’s easy to keep the hands away from the keyboard.

That’s been life for my November, and at times it’s been a struggle. Just like you might get the urge to check your email when you ought to be with your family, or call into the weekly touchbase from the waterfront, I’ll have that same niggling concern that I’m missing something. That I’m falling behind.

The main problem with this line of thought, of course, is that it takes you away from what you’re supposed to be enjoying. Not going to have much fun swimming in the waves if you’re obsessing over that report. Not going to want a mimosa with breakfast if you’re twitching about a coming deadline (or maybe you would – everyone copes differently).

I don’t have any super solutions to this accept, perhaps, to acknowledge what you’re feeling and why. To go through the reasoning, understand the tasks that are making you anxious, and put a plan in place to deal with them after the vacation is over. Ideally you’ll do this even before your time off starts, so you won’t have anything to freak out about, but if you haven’t, or if something pops to mind that you forgot about, take five minutes (with mimosa in hand) and grab some time on the calendar for after you get back to handle it. In my experience, the process of laying out what I was worried about calmed me down. I saw that I had a plan to keep myself on track, and so I could lay back and treat the trip more like the vacation it was.

It’s not perfect – here and there I’d have a sudden thought about a task I needed to handle – but by giving myself the tools to schedule away the solution, and giving myself the permission to take the couple of minutes to do so, I was able to save a whole bunch of stress and actually enjoy those waves. And that mimosa.

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