On Writing

What did you learn on your summer vacation?

Crab Racing
Try something new ...like Crab Racing!

Matt Heinz wrote a great piece this week on staying “vacation fresh.”  I love this idea, both because I returned from vacation this week and because I think Matt is always good at documenting important moments in time and extracting value and practice from those moments.  The idea behind staying “vacation fresh” is to learn from the pause that you experience during that downtime and find the daily productivity and mental boosters that you can from such a pause.

What did I learn on my summer vacation?

I learned that having my laptop was not necessary in the least.  Being almost untethered for almost a week (I had my iPhone) gave me a few important habits, some reinforced by the beach and others by intermittent network connections:

1) Batch your email activity.  This one seems easy, but is so hard to do.  I found that in a few sequences a day of intense email activity on my phone I could read almost all of my email (and feel mostly refreshed and unconnected from work).  Lesson learned: time-box the email.

2) It WILL all get done.  Also hard to stomach is the idea that life goes on while you are away from the office and that you aren’t a part of that.  You should also consider the bright side, which is that while you are away, other people are helping to shoulder the load, giving you the space to try something new or to spend time thinking strategically when you get back to the office.  Lesson learned: getting some space from work gives you space to think.

3) Do something new and fun.  I spent my time in Barnegat Light, NJ on Long Beach Island.  Chief among the entertainments of the week I spent away was my first crab racing experience (try it – it’s fun).  The basic idea is that a bunch of crabs are lined up, tipped onto a tilted surface, and water is sprayed on the surface to make them “race” faster.  Dumb?  Yep.  Fun?  Absolutely.  The announcer relayed the information of the race as if it were a Kentucky Derby stakes race, and at the end, schoolkids in the local community had a little bit more money for their local school.  Lesson learned: have fun whereever you are.

And those are a few of the things I learned on my summer vacation.  What did you learn?

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