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How to take a vacation & truly leave work behind 2009

[originally posted to my Expediter coaching blog]


Having trouble getting the most out of your time off? Here are some tips which apply particularly to vacations, but can be helpful principles too for having great weekends.

Clear your head before you go.

Schedule at least an hour a week with yourself in the three weeks before to do the following:

  • Brainstorm about all your open projects, deadlines and other stuff on your mind; write it down as you go, either freeform or in a mindmap style if you like something more visual. Look over your calendar for the months before, during, and after your vacation to spark recollection of any other open activities.
  • Once you feel like your head is clear, group the things you wrote down into goals & projects. Identify the next actions in each of them and when they need to be done by. If the deadline is before your trip, schedule when you'll do them. If it's during or in the week after, do them early or delegate them. If they're due more than a week after, but less than a month after, list them in a clear, prioritized way on a piece of paper and set that front & center on your desk as your starting point for your return.
  • Briefly talk over at a high level the status, next actions and upcoming deadlines for your active projects with your boss and/or colleagues who may cover for you while you're gone. If they'll need to cover a lot of new ground in your absence, provide them with a similar sheet listing next steps, goals & deadlines for that project.
  • Place a clearly marked inbox on your desk or chair to receive anything physical coming to you while you're out.

You'll be able to travel knowing that nothing is forgotten - you gave yourself three whole weeks to remember anything known - and that you've prepared others to deal with unknowns within the context of your goals.

I find it also helps to return from vacations on a Wednesday, use the Thursday to recombobulate myself at home & finish unpacking, then spend Friday on processing email &, if I quietly go into the office, any accumulated inbox papers. Say to everyone that you'll be back in the office Monday, but use Friday to get you soundly back on your feet at work, with a weekend as an additional reward for doing so!

One gift you can give yourself before you dive into your inboxes, is an hour or two of high-level, undistracted, newly relaxed thinking about your work, tools and processes. This can be hard to carve out of day-to-day business, so take any opportunity you can to give yourself quality thinking time.

Another great thing you can do on that Friday if you go into the office is look at your space with fresh eyes. Have a large trash can and some bankers boxes brought to your workspace and purge stuff that is not useful, required, or inspiring.

Good luck and have a great vacation!

Posted on June 24, 2009 at 11:40 AM in work | Permalink | Comments (0)

Notes from an Infinite Summer 2009

The view from the top of page 33:

Once, as an undoubtedly irritatingly intellectual teen, I read James Tiptree Jr.'s Up The Walls Of The World while suffering from a fever.

The effects are by no means dissimilar.

1. Infinite Summer: a group read of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest.
2. 33: Jesus' age at crucifixion, RPM records, my age at divorce, blah blah blah.

Posted on June 23, 2009 at 09:41 AM in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dinah & Joe's Goodbye-To-Spring cocktail party 2009

 Photos by Ann Larie Valentine.

Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 1.34.40 PM



Posted on June 19, 2009 at 12:00 PM in Food and Drink, friends & family | Permalink | Comments (0)

Things 2009

From a piece of paper that makes me wistful:

Colored paper
Bag of coffee beans
Bag of cocoa beans
Bunch of buttercups
Can of soda pop
Hemp yoga mat
Massage certificate
Mood light
Lotus plant
Sack of flour
Sack of salt
Sugar cane
Tube of miracle carrot creme
X-ray glasses
Booze of all kinds
Lobster bisque
Scoop of calorie-free ice cream
Diamond ring
Orgone accumulator
Fancy dress ball
Ruby bracelet
Silver locket
Supersonic stereo

These were followed by cryptic notations in many cases, e.g. "S. Agricola", "SoSo", "MC Square", "Lunkhed".

Oh Game NeverEnding, I miss you.

Posted on June 16, 2009 at 04:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

"I have often had the impression that, to penguins, man is just another penguin - different, less predictable, occasionally violent, but tolerable company when he sits still and minds his own business."

- Bernard Stonehouse

Posted on June 16, 2009 at 04:15 PM in quotes | Permalink | Comments (0)

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