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8 Ways To Live and Work Like You’re On Vacation

8 Ways To Live and Work Like You’re On Vacation
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If you’re like most people, vacationing is a welcome reprieve from usual daily stresses. On vacation you may laugh more, sleep better, feel more at ease, but why should we limit that to 10 days out of the year? Nothing really changes on vacation except a shift in perspective and that shift is something we can manifest at home on a regular basis whenever we want. Here are eight easy steps to live and work like you’re on vacation:

1. Change your commute.

The best part of vacationing is seeing new cities, landscapes, and people. Taking in new information about our environment forces us to become more aware. We stop hanging our heads in our phones and look up to see what’s around the corner. Changing up your perspective can be as easy as changing your commute to work. If you drive, take public transit. If you take the subway, consider riding your bike. It could be as easy as taking the long way around or stopping by a coffee shop that is a little out of the way. A change in your commute doesn’t have to be huge, but it will have a huge payoff.

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2. Answer your email twice a day.

Many people stay connected to their email on vacation, but the ones who get the most rest are the ones who give it a rest. The batching technique was made famous by life hacker extraordinaire Tim Ferriss. It’s simple: set up an auto-response that lets people know when you’ll be checking your email throughout the day, preferably two times a day in the late morning (after morning emails have come in) and early evening (at the end of your work day), and a phone number where they can reach you if it’s an emergency. Knowing that they won’t hear from you until those specific times allows you to get more meaningful work done and to feel less pressure to respond to everything immediately.

3. Go to new restaurants.

We all have our tried and true spots. They know our name, what we like to order, that we want our dressing on the side. But on vacation our palate is constantly changing. Eating out isn’t just about avoiding doing the dishes later on, it’s about getting to know a new cuisine and atmosphere. It makes eating more conscious and consciously chowing down makes every bite more satisfying.

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4. Assume nothing.

Remember when you were on vacation in a brand new culture and you weren’t sure what was expected of you in restaurants, or on the road, or even just walking down the street? Assuming nothing meant you were open to new experiences. You saw the world through innocent eyes and that’s a good thing. Taking away the assumption that you know all you need to know leaves you open to being a student. Practice this in your relationships. Assume you don’t know what your boss or spouse is going to say next. Consider every moment a surprise and see just how much more interesting your daily interactions can be.

5. When your to-do list is finished, stop.

A novel idea, right? We get so engrossed by productivity that turning off our progress-oriented brains at the end of the day can be difficult. So much so that we often make up meaningless tasks just so we can keep working. When you prepare for vacation, you run down your list of things to take care of and then you leave. You turn off your phone, get on the plane, and just stop working. You can create the same kind of daily rest by simply stopping once your list is complete. Sometimes, the lists of things to do really will be endless, but knowing that you can only get so much done in one day is your permission to stop. Clock out every day.

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6. Filter the same old problems through your vacation lens.

You know that as soon as you come back from vacation, the same old issues at work or home will reappear. Just because the problems are there doesn’t mean that you have to react in the same way. Consider the most valuable thing you learned on vacation – maybe it was learning to slow down, maybe it was recognizing that you could step away from your team and they were just fine on their own, maybe it was that you feel the best early in the morning. Whatever it was, use that lens to look at your current everyday life. If you are feeling run down and uninspired, maybe you need to get your most important work done first thing in the morning because that’s when you had the most energy on vacation. Get into your vacation mode to solve problems and the answers are usually obvious.

7. Use your commute to consume.

Consume podcasts, audio books, music, radio. How many times do you see this question on Facebook right before someone goes on vacation: “Any good book recommendations for the beach?” Why should we save the consumption of books and music for the times we’re out of town? When you find yourself allowing more down time in your life, you’ll have the space to fill it with inspiration. But even if your schedule is packed, you can always use your commute to get inspired. Instead of planning for or worrying about the day, take a book or a playlist to create the mood you want. Choose to make your commute as pleasurable as possible.

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8. Plan free time.

You didn’t just show up at your vacation destination, it took planning. You carved out time and set aside some money, you researched what there was to do and got your butt there. There is no difference between vacation free time and everyday free time except that we plan the former a lot more easily. Schedule in your plans to see a concert or meet a friend for coffee or simply get in another half hour of reading. If you’re not sure what you want to do each week, at the very least block off time for just you. An hour of free time a day keeps the exhaustion away. Don’t assume it will happen, make it happen.

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Courtney Romano

Courtney is an actress, NASM-certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and wellness coach.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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