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The Absolute WORST Day to Take a Vacation (It’s Not When You Think!)

The Absolute WORST Day to Take a Vacation (It’s Not When You Think!)

    I need a vacation.

    For the last couple of months, I’ve been working like crazy getting my book ready for publication, and laying all the groundwork to promote it. I coordinated with my 30 contributing authors to get their chapters polished and ready, I got the books designed, printed, and then shipped out to reviewers, and I’ve written dozens of guest posts to help spread the word.

    Not to mention producing two video trailers, putting together a sweet launch offer, coordinating with reviewers… and doing everything I have to do as part of day-to-day client work.

    All to say that I’m tired, and I could use a break.

    And the book is done, launched last week – isn’t it time for me to be able to kick back and enjoy the fruits of my labor?

    When You’re Supposed to Take a Vacation

      The prevailing wisdom states that our lives should follow a pattern that looks more or less like the one depicted to the right;

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      1. We choose a new goal – something that is important to us, that we’re willing to put time and energy into achieving.
      2. We work towards that goal. A lot. There are setbacks along the way, but we keep on trucking.
      3. We evaluate our success. As long as we haven’t achieved that goal, we buckle down and get back to work.
      4. Finally, we achieve the goal. Success! Victory! Now it’s time to reward ourselves with a vacation.

      And of course, when we get back from vacation, it’s time to set a new goal, and start the whole cycle over again.

      This is the prevailing wisdom, and according to the prevailing wisdom, I should be packing my bags right about now; after all, the book is published, the guest posts are written, the marketing is all done – in other words, the work has been completed, and the goal has been achieved.

      Except that the prevailing wisdom is wrong, wrong, wrong. To understand why it’s wrong, we have to understand where it came from…

      Vacations in a Corporate Setting

      The prevailing wisdom comes from the corporate reality, and in that setting, the prevailing wisdom makes sense.

      The job of managers in a corporate environment is to make sure that other people do theirs. To do that effectively, they have to do two things (in addition to giving clear instructions and allocating the actual work, of course):

      1. Manage employees’ motivation. If employees aren’t motivated to get the job done, then they probably won’t. It’s the manager’s job to keep employees motivated to keep on working.
      2. Manage employees’ energy level. If employees are tired or burned out, then they won’t get much work done, either. It’s the manager’s job to manage workloads, and make sure that doesn’t happen.

      Putting a vacation at the end of a project helps to achieve both of these objectives; it rewards employees for their hard work, which helps to keep them motivated, and it gives them an opportunity to recharge, so that they’re ready for more hard work when they get back.

      But that logic doesn’t work if you’re running your own business, and in charge of your own income.

      For one, you shouldn’t need a vacation to reward you for your hard work; the results of your hard work should be all the reward that you need. That’s the beauty of doing your own thing – at least part of the reason why you do it is that you love it, and find the work itself to be motivating.

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      (This intrinsic motivation is also why I believe that entrepreneurs are capable of doing so much more actual work than corporate employees; if you want to learn more about that, check out Dan Pink’s RSA Animate video about his book Drive.)

      But even more importantly, because it doesn’t factor in two very important things: momentum, and the landscape of opportunity…

      Momentum is a Real Thing

      Momentum is a funny thing. You can’t touch it, or see it, but you can definitely feel it, and it can do wonderful things for your business. It is also the first big reason why you shouldn’t take a vacation after a big win.

      Here are three basic rules for understanding momentum:

      1. Wins create momentum.
      2. Action after a win multiplies momentum.
      3. Inaction dissipates momentum.

      Simple enough, and pretty intuitive, right?

      The upshot of these rules, though, is that after your big win, you should be doing everything that you can to ride and multiply the momentum, rather than taking a break and letting it dissipate.

      There’s an even better reason to work after a big win, though: wins change everything.

      The Changing Landscape of Opportunity

      Goals, by definition, are about changing something – if everything stayed exactly the same, then you wouldn’t have to work to achieve it. We have a lot of different kind of goals, but they all boil down to making us healthier, or happier, or better off. In other words, they’re about making our worlds a little bit better.

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      Better is good, but better is also different. It’s hard to change just one thing and leave everything else the same. Changing one thing changes everything. And when everything changes, new opportunities open up.

      Now let me ask you, as an entrepreneur – when new opportunities are opening up, is it time to take a vacation, or is it time to seize those opportunities? Any entrepreneur worth his salt would say that it’s the latter – that’s just a part of the mindset that allows entrepreneurs to do what they do…

      The Red Honda Effect and the Psychology of Success

      You know how when you start thinking about something, suddenly you start seeing it everywhere, as though you were “magnetically drawing it into your life”?

      Some people call it “the secret” or the “law of attraction”, but I call it the “red Honda effect”. Thinking about something doesn’t magically draw it towards you, but it does focus your attention, so that you start noticing it around you (just like when you’re thinking about buying a red Honda, you start seeing them everywhere).

      The same effect is at play when it comes to looking for opportunity. Just developing the mindset that opportunity is there, just waiting for you to find and seize it, will expand your frame of reference and allow you to see more possibilities.

      (Want to read more about this? Check out Mindset by Carol Dweck, or Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson.)

      Long story short? When things are going well, there’s always the opportunity to make them even better! :D Now, just to be clear, I’m not advocating the stereotype of the workaholic entrepreneur who never takes a break or vacation.

      What Vacations Are For, and When They’re Okay

      Entrepreneurs don’t need vacations to stay motivated, but we do need to manage our energy level, and vacations are a big part of that; it’s important for us to take breaks, breath some fresh air, and get some perspective on what we’re doing. In other words, even though we don’t need vacations as rewards, they’re great for resting and recharging – just so long as we don’t take one at a time that will take away our momentum, or kill an opportunity.

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      For an entrepreneur (or anyone who is in charge of their own income), vacations don’t come when projects are complete. On the contrary – they should come when the projects are still in progress, but you’re tired, and need to recharge to carry the ball the rest of the way:

        Celebrate, then Get Back to Work!

        Make sure not to skip the celebration box, because it’s important!

        As the diagram indicates, our projects aren’t as nice and neat as the projects of a corporate employee, with a start, middle, end, and vacation before the next one. Our projects are messy, and blend into each other in a continuum of work and the pursuit of opportunity.

        That’s great, and we wouldn’t have it any other way, but it’s also important to pause and celebrate the wins.

        After the launch, my wife and I went out to a nice restaurant, and raised our glasses to toast my book finally being done and launched to the world.

        But then the next day, I got back to work… ;)

        What about you? Do you believe in a vacation after a big win, or do you agree that this is the time to look for new opportunities, and build on your momentum?

        (Photo credit: Beach chair and umbrella from Shutterstock

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        Last Updated on August 15, 2018

        25 Most Useful Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

        25 Most Useful Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

        Imagine if you could use 5 simple shortcuts while working in Excel, and increase your productivity without wasting time for searching information in huge tables, writing long formulas, and sorting the data.

        Or even better:

        What if you would get 25 useful shortcuts… and each of them could simplify your work, so you could do much more every day?

        You’d definitely feel excited to read about them.

        Today is your lucky day because we are going to share with you in this article 25 great Excel shortcuts you can use in your work every day! This is your lucky chance, so go ahead and become a real professional in Excel without wasting your time.

        How important are Excel shortcuts for you?

        The most effective thing to check out if people really need something is to release a survey and look at the results. So, according to the anonymous survey, 99% of people said Excel shortcuts are critical or important for them.

        In general, there are more than 200 shortcuts in Excel. But when we have analyzed the data about how many shortcuts people know, we got the next results:

        • 26% of people know 10 or fewer shortcuts;
        • 61% of people know 10-50 shortcuts;
        • 10% of people know 50-100 shortcuts.

        As you can see, not so many people know a lot of shortcuts. Probably, some of them never think about increasing their productivity in such a simple way.

        Of course, it depends on how deep you use Excel. Some people use this powerful application just for making simple tables or graphs, others use it for everyday work to count something.

        Most of the accountants and businessmen use much more Excel functions for more complex tasks such as creating VBA macros, managing PivotTables, recalculating huge workbooks, outlining data, etc.

        But even those people who work with Excel every day very close may know a few shortcuts. Needless to say, they can do their job without shortcuts, but it usually takes for them much more time. T

        his sounds not funny, especially if you must finish a huge amount of work urgently. There is a great opportunity for you to increase your productivity in Excel and do your job faster with our useful shortcuts.

        5 Main reasons to learn excel shortcuts

        Many people don’t understand why they should use shortcuts if they can work without them. Of course, if you use Excel twice per year to make a simple table or a graph, it is probably not so important for you to know many shortcuts.

        But if you work in Excel every day, sorting huge tables and managing with tons of data, then shortcuts will help you to reach the next five goals:

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        1. Work efficiently and faster in Excel
        2. Manage big amounts of data easily and fast
        3. Stay calm and concentrated even while doing a tedious job
        4. Make your work accurately and properly without errors
        5. Get a better understanding of Microsoft Excel

        Who can use Excel shortcuts?

        There are a lot of people who can simplify their life with Excel shortcuts, and here are the groups that will definitely love using them:

        • People who work in banks, finance organizations, etc.
        • Businessmen who make tons of various reports and presentations in Excel for meetings and briefings.
        • Students who usually are lazy and impatient to make their homework because they don’t want to waste a lot of time working in Excel.
        • Private entrepreneurs who keep various data in Excel tables.

        Whether you are a student who hates Excel because it seems a time-wasting and boring application, or you are an accountant who must recalculate huge worksheets every day without making errors, we recommend reading and learning these Excel shortcuts to make your work simpler and save some time.

        With these simple but useful tricks, it is so easy to finish your job and get more time for yourself.

        25 Excel shortcuts to increase your productivity

        Here are 25 great Excel shortcuts you should learn and use for work or studying to make your job faster and simpler. Try to use them all and you will realize you were totally blind before while working in Excel:

        1. Format whatever object fast with Ctrl+1

        If you select any object in Excel – a cell, a chart, a chart axis, a drawing object – then press Ctrl+1, and you will get the Properties dialog for the certain object. This shortcut offers a very quick and easy way to format whatever object you’re working with.

        2. Use range names with Ctrol+G or F5 key

        If you use range names (which we strongly recommend to do) and you want to choose the range with a specific name references, press either Ctrl+G or the F5 key, which launches the GoTo dialog.

        If the name is simple, you can click on it in a list in that dialog. But if it’s at all unusual, Excel won’t list it; so you will need to type in the name. Then press OK.

        3. Use a range name in a formula with =sum( and F3

        Suppose you want to use a range name in a formula. For example, you want to sum the Sales range. Enter…

        =sum(

        …and then press F3.

        When you do so, Excel launches the Paste Name dialog. Just choose “Sales” from the list, press the OK button in the dialog, then enter the SUM function’s closing “)” to complete the formula.

        4. Launch Function Arguments dialog easily with Ctrl+A

        Suppose you want to check the help topic for a worksheet function. For example, you want to read about the MATCH function. In a cell, type…

        =match(

        …and then press Ctrl+A, or click the Insert Function (“fx“) button to the left of the formula bar.

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        When you do so, Excel displays the Function Arguments dialog, which might offer all the help you need.

        But if you still want to see the complete help topic, click the blue “Help on this function” hyperlink in the lower-left corner of the dialog. This technique works with all documented Excel functions.

        5. Copy stuff down the column without scrolling with Ctrl+D

        If you added a formula in a new column on the right of a huge dataset, and you want to copy that formula down without scrolling, do these steps:

        • go to the right to the column that has data (the column to the left of the new column with the formula);
        • press Ctrl+Down – to get to bottom;
        • move one cell to the right (with arrow key naturally);
        • press Ctrl+Shift+Up to select the new column, at the top of which is the formula you just created;
        • press Ctrl+D to fill down the formula.

        6. Quick access to any function with Alt+

        By customizing the quick access toolbar, you can create simple shortcuts to commands that you would otherwise have to find in the Ribbon tabs, or macros you have created yourself.

        The keyboard shortcut is simply selecting Alt+ (the number of the command you wish to select).

        For example, if you have customized your quick access toolbar to have Calc Sheet, Save, Open. To calculate sheet you would hit Alt+1, for save Alt+2, and for open Alt+3.

        A lot of people are unaware of this useful function, and it’s a great time saver.

        7. Format cells with Ctrl+1

        When you need to format cells, use Ctrl+1. Most people know this as the shortcut for the Format Cells dialog, but you can also use it to format almost anything in Excel, without a care about the state of the ribbon. Try this amazing and simple shortcut!

        8. Choose visible cells with Alt+

        When you need to choose visible cells only – use Alt+. This is the trick to copy only what you see. It is a priceless shortcut when you’re manually hiding rows and columns in the table.

        9. Use filtering

        Filtering – it is a powerful way to slice, dice, and sort through a huge table of information.

        It’s amazingly effective when you’re participating in a meeting to discuss something like a sales forecast, and everyone is looking in real-time at your spreadsheet projected on a screen (or on their monitors).

        To some people, you will be seen as the God of Spreadsheets, and this is not a joke!

        10. Insert or delete column/row easily with the Ctrl key

        Some people waste a lot of time even for simple operations, for example, when they need to insert/delete columns and rows in Excel.

        Use this shortcut to insert: with an entire row or column selected, use Ctrl+Shift ++.

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        To delete: with an entire row or column selected, use Ctrl + –.

        11. See formula results with F9

        If you want to check formula results within multiple formulas, highlight the formula and select F9 to see formula result.

        Don’t forget to undo before exiting the formula.

        12. Use ALT+Enter for more text within a cell

        If you want to add a second line of text within a cell, use ALT+Enter.

        13. Use EDATE to move a date on by a full calendar month:

        Here’s how to use EDATE:

        =EDATE(15/01/16,+1) = 15/02/2016 (15th Feb 2016)

        =EDATE (15/01/2016,-2) = 15/11/2015 (15th Nov 2016)

        14. Use EOMONTH to move a date onto the end of the month:

        Here’s how to use EMONTH:

        =EOMONTH(15/01/2016,0) = 31/01/2016 (31st Jan 2106)

        =EOMONTH (15/01/2016,-2) = 30/11/2015 (30th Nov 2015)

        15. Remove spaces with TRIM

        TRIM is a useful function known by few people. It removes any spaces at the beginning of a value. This is useful if you are pulling in values from somewhere else.

        16. Repeat commands with F4 or Ctrl+Y

        In many cases, you may need to repeat your last action. Use F4 or Ctrl+Y; you can repeat many commands like applying the same borders, format, or insert a worksheet again.

        17. Quick access to cells with the Ctrl key and Shift key

        When you need to go to the first or last cell of a worksheet, no matter where you are, use Ctrl+Home, Ctrl+End combinations.

        And here is a pleasant bonus for you: add the Shift key to select everything on the way!

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        18. Use Ctrl+ to create a timestamp

        If you need a date stamp and/or a timestamp in your document, there is no need to type a date and time! Use shortcuts Ctrl+ ; (date) Ctrl+Shift+ : (time). It works like a magic and helps to save your time and nerves.

        19. Use autosum shortcut for sum function anywhere

        Autosum shortcut – use Alt =. It is a “magic” shortcut of Excel to automatically insert a sum function.

        You can use this shortcut to sum rows, columns, or even an entire table in one step without wasting your time.

        20. Use data validation

        This is an amazing but underutilized tool in Excel, which can be used for a variety of things:

        • Create dependent drop-down lists;
        • Create drop-down lists;
        • Protect/restrict data input of specific cells (without the need for VBA macros).

        21. Use conditional formatting

        It can be used for various purposes such as color format or cell format of cells, rows or columns based on dependent cell values or formats.

        22. Use formula auditing

        This is a great tool to analyze and trace precedent or dependent cells, check errors and evaluate formulas.

        The “Watch Window” is a feature to keep a snapshot of an area of the spreadsheet, and then move to another area of the workbook – particularly valuable if you’re managing large spreadsheets or don’t have a second screen.

        23. Use Scenario Manager to generate summary outputs of a spreadsheet

        Scenario Manager (under “What-if Analysis”) enables users to generate high-level, summary outputs of a spreadsheet – without the need to replicate the entire workbook.

        It will present multiple scenarios of a spreadsheet in a succinct, high-level summary worksheet.

        24. Use INDIRECT to set up large tables

        INDIRECT makes it easy to set up tables which reference larger tables without a lot of referencing work or cutting and pasting; especially for dynamic spreadsheets.

        25. Use OFFSET for complicated calculations or formulas

        OFFSET can be useful for things like calculating YTD numbers or creating formulas that take data in rows and using in columns.

        The bottom line

        As you can see, when you have a boring or tedious job to do, the best way to do it fast is not looking for a way how to avoid it, but searching for the shortest variant to do it!

        That is why we suggest keeping in mind these Excel shortcuts that will help you to save a lot of time and nerves.

        If it seems hard for you to remember all them, you can print out the list of shortcuts and keep it on your worktable. Use it to search for some help when you need it, and over time, you’ll remember all shortcuts easily.

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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