These days, being able to connect to work anywhere is a click away. Studies show that roughly 60% of working Americans continue their duties while on vacation. This is funny to me because if you research “vacations and work” most of the articles and information you will find is how to completely disengage from work. So, if 60% are engaged while on vacation, that leaves 40% who disengage.
Finding a balance between work and vacation has been difficult for me for as long as I can remember. It’s not just a work-related issue. We all have our work responsibilities, but we also may have home projects, family and pets to attend to as well. This list can go on and on. To just shut all of this out and be in “vacation mode” has never worked for me. My ability to shut it down for more than 1 day at a time, I find very difficult.
As I get older, I am finding that I am not the only one who feels this way. Years ago, when I would take time off, I had found that I spent most of my time thinking about work and things that I needed to address. After a couple of days of doing that, other things pop up and very quickly, your ability to focus and really enjoy the time off becomes cloudy with an ever-growing list of “to do’s”. When vacation time ends, we all must come back to our own little unpleasant piles. For me, it’s almost not worth the time off. On the other hand, if I worked too much on vacation, I feel guilty for neglecting those loved ones I’m on vacation with.
We all need and deserve down time. We just need to come up with our own little system that works for us without feeling guilty about neglecting work or neglecting those people who might share in this vacation time (i.e., spouse. family members, friends). I had found there is relaxation and peace in knowing that as long as I address things daily, so they don’t build up, I can focus on other things and feel even better in those non-working moments knowing that I have done something that day. This situation is similar to those of us who have children and trying to keep them busy during those long summer months. I would think most parents would agree that our kids tend to do better and feel better when they have something to do (even if it’s a small part of the day). They tend to be much happier and stay out of trouble. This is how I feel when I’m on vacation. I’m thinking about what I can do each day to stay in touch, address issues as they occur, or prepare for upcoming work. By doing this every day, the rest of my days and downtime is much more enjoyable. Find a system that works for you and don’t overdo it, because if you do, your spouse might hide your computer cord on you for a couple of days.