Why “Doing Nothing” Can Take A Ton of Work

time management getawayDuring the workweek, we long for the weekend. Visions of kicking up our feet in an exotic locale holding a drink with an umbrella tease us while we respond to the same email we’ve already answered 5 times. When we dream of that relaxation scene, we forget one very important fact…

…that “relaxing getaway” took a lot of time and work. It often takes work to do “nothing”, at least if you plan to do nothing somewhere that isn’t your home. But here is the thing- it’s totally worth it.

My Weekend

As anyone living in Phoenix can attest, it is a thousand bazillion degrees in the summer (and that’s only a slight exaggeration) We wanted to get out of the heat and relax in a cooler climate. Our friends found an adorable cabin in the mountains just a few hours away and the escape from work and the heat was too tempting to pass up.

Then came all the planning. This escape required finding and coordinating the right weekend, creating and shopping for a meal plan, packing up 10,000 things into our SUV (did I mention we have a toddler? Yeah, we have a toddler) and finding a place for our dogs to stay.

After coming home from a long day of work only to be faced with an empty cooler and a jigsaw puzzle of food that was simply not meant to all fit in that tiny space, I thought to myself, “Why are we doing this again?”

All Worth It

Then, relaxing in the mountain air I remember. “Oh right, THIS is why we went through that hassle.” Good, fun things in life sometimes come with hassle and planning. If we never took the time do deal with the hassle, we’d miss out on a lot of “Desserts” in our Time Diets.

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Are You More Than Your Job?

time management work life balance“So, what do you do?”

That’s one of the first questions we’re asked when meeting someone for the first time. The answer usually entails some sort of job or profession. Basically, whatever brings in money and pays the bills. However, this week I thought a lot about why it’s our job that defines who we are – the snapshot of a person’s life we choose to ask about. I don’t have answers, but I do have ideas. Read on.

My Vacation Epiphany

I spent the past week in Costa Rica (which I would highly recommend by the way, but that’s an entire novel unto itself.) The people there are very friendly and I answered the “where are you from and what do you do” question frequently. After a while though, I didn’t enjoy answering it. I love my job and wouldn’t trade it for anything, but I was trying to escape work this week, not think about it.

Why do we ask what people do? My first thought is it’s because that’s how we spend a significant portion of our time every day. It also gives clues to our personalities and interests. “Oh you’re an engineer. Cool, you must like math.” “Nursing, how interesting, you must like helping people.” But I also feel a little weird about making someone’s occupation the number one thing I care about in a brief, “let’s get acquainted” conversation.

What Makes You Happy?

What if instead our first question was “What makes you happy?” or “Tell me about what’s most important to you?” Perhaps these seem a little too personal to share with a stranger and our occupations are a less intrusive way to search for common ground to talk about.

Regardless, I am committed to feeling like more than my job. I am a speaker and an educator, but I’m first a wife, a sister, a daughter, a dog lover, a travel enthusiast, and creative thinker. I feel fortunate to be able to earn money doing work I enjoy, but work is what I do, it’s not all of who I am.

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Are You Losing Time After Your Vacation?

Time Management VacationSummer vacations are wonderful! Coming home from summer vacations? Well, that’s a different story. After a relaxing week of fun, coming back to the harsh realities of work can seem daunting, stressful, and a bit overwhelming. Try these tips for a seamless transition back to real life so you can maintain your feeling of relaxation instead of drowning in “vacation recovery” upon your return.

1. Tidy Up Before You Leave

Nothing screams “back to work!” quite like a messy home and office. Before you leave for your marvelous trip, take a moment to organize your work and living space so it’s ready for your return. As you’re throwing things into a suitcase, cleaning is the last thing on your mind, but that pile of unsorted mail, heap of dirty laundry, and stack of clutter on your desk makes it difficult to ease back into a productive mindset.  Make tidying up part of your pre-vacation planning.

2. Minimize Jet-Lag

If your vacation took you across several time zones, you might lose several days to the groggy effects of jet lag when you return home. While some of those effects may be inevitable, minimize them by getting back to your home time zone as quickly as possible. Get in bed when the local time says you should, and find as much light as you can in the morning to help wake you up and get you back on track.

3. Un-Pack Right Away

You may not want your vacation to come to an end, but it’s difficult to return to business-as-usual when your suitcase takes up permanent residence in the middle of your room. Even though you’re worn out, unpack right away to get back to your normal routine as quickly as possible.

Vacations are an enjoyable “Dessert” in your Time Diet. Don’t let the post-vacation slump stop you from taking them in the first place!

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