Who doesn’t love a good vacation? Let’s be honest, it’s not only enjoyable but absolutely vital to take some time away from work to recharge your batteries, spend time with family or friends and finally get to do things you never have enough time to do on weekdays.
We all make plans to go to yoga class every day, learn a foreign language, establish some good habits (even if it’s just flossing every day…) or quit smoking, but most of us end up spending our downtime on the couch binge-watching Game of Thrones with a bag of Doritos.
Vacation time is special because it comes without the restraints associated with work days – there are, literally, more hours in the day for you to spend doing what you want. Not even the most hardcore Netflixers can spend two weeks watching TV for 12 hours every day…right?
In that regard, a vacation is the perfect opportunity to make a dent on one of those things you’ve been wanting to do but never seem to be able to get around to.
Not had a chance to check out the latest iPhone yet? Still ignoring that notification telling to update your operating system? Wondering what this Snapchat thing (it’s worth a staggering $20 billion now!) is all about?
You don’t often get a chance to experiment with the latest and greatest technological innovations when you have a lot on your plate, even though it can be important for keeping up with what’s new and getting you inspired at work.
A vacation is a great time to expand your mind and try something completely different. But that doesn’t mean that you have to go skydiving or swim with sharks! Try something as simple as checking out a beauty vlog and see how girls (and guys!) use makeup in totally unique ways, like turning themselves into TV characters, comic book creations or nightmarish Halloween creatures.
Or, speaking of YouTube and vloggers, check out some of the most popular personalities out there like PewDiePie and Zoella. With net worths of millions of dollars, it’s fascinating to see how these vloggers have built an empire on nothing more than quirky personalities.
“But what makes this a great use of vacation time?” you may be asking. Well, taking a closer look at the changing face of the media, social influence and millennial trends can be really useful for looking at your business (or indeed your personal life – maybe you’ll be inspired to start your own channel!) in a different way.
Ever pay for a gym membership and think “THIS is it. I’m finally gonna get ripped!” then end up only going twice? Yeah, us too. Just hide the membership card waaay down in your wallet so you don’t see it accidentally and feel embarrassed. Or alternatively, set yourself goals that aren’t quite so “all or nothing”.
Research from Stanford indicates that even a walk around the block can boost creativity, as well as being good for the body. Once you get a few hits of the endorphins that start to flow, even with exercise that’s not particularly strenuous, you might find yourself getting into good exercise habits without even thinking about it.
Using holiday time for self-improvement is one of the most productive things you can do. The more skills you have, the more career opportunities are out there for you. Think of a skill that could boost your career, or even act as a springboard to a different one.
Find an online course on Coursera (https://www.coursera.org/), pick up a cheap copy of Photoshop (protip: their monthly Creative Cloud plan is actually surprisingly affordable) or grab a cheap DSLR on eBay and start digging in.
Or, remember that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” and learn something that interests you but has NOTHING to do with work. That cupcake workshop or whiskey brewing masterclass might not further your career, but they could lift your mood and help you meet some like-minded people. Never a bad thing!
Podcasts are great when you need to pass the time during flights, train journeys or car rides. It’s a good idea to give the eyes a bit of a break when you’re on vacation, and scrolling through Facebook or staring at a Kindle doesn’t help with that.
Podcasts and audiobooks cover a huge range of topics from business and technology through to health and fitness or movies and TV. Do your eyes a favor, put down the iPad and check out some podcasts instead!
It’s really hard to find time to read when you are deep in your work routine, so downtime is a great chance for you to catch up on reading. Find a comfortable spot to sit, cuddle up with a blanket and sink into that book you always wanted to read but never seem to get enough time to.
If you have no idea what to read, check this reading list from TED speakers or just head down to your local bookstore and see what jumps out at you. We know, you’re not supposed to judge books by their covers, but there really are some beautifully designed covers out there!
Ok, so this isn’t a particularly glamorous way to spend your vacation but it might be a good one for you if you’re getting sick of that “1746 unread emails” icon on your iPhone.
The inbox zero technique – don’t let the name fool you; zero doesn’t refer to the number of messages in your inbox, but how long you spend on your emails – is definitely a good one and will help you cut down on the time you waste navigating a cluttered inbox, whether it’s personal or work-related.
Most of us have SOMETHING that we put off doing for far too long because we’re busy with work. Maybe it’s a massage to get that kink out of your shoulder, or perhaps you’re prone to delaying haircuts for so long that you start to look like an extra from a ‘70s sitcom!
Find whatever you never seem to get around to and use your vacation to get it done. If you’re really lucky, maybe you’ll realize that you’ve been putting off that spa trip for way too long and will be able to book yourself a day of pampering…
Use your vacation time to catch up with a friend you haven’t been in touch with for years. The good memories about pranks and the follies of youth will undoubtedly cheer you up, and it’s always fascinating to compare notes on where your school or college friends ended up.
Maybe they’ll even be of some help to your business when your vacation is over, but don’t be too pushy; you don’t want to be know as that guy who turned a beer and BBQ into one big sales pitch.
New Year always sneaks up on us before we know it. We tend to make resolutions on New Year’s Eve without really thinking about what we want to achieve in the year to come.
Starting to think about all of this stuff before Christmas rolls around is a much better idea because it gives you time to think about what you want to achieve in the year to come, what you need to do to make those dreams come true and set realistic goals without the pressure of living up to a New Year’s Resolution.
Sit on the porch and watch the sunset, maybe with a nice glass of wine or a cold beer if that’s your thing, grab your notebook (or fire up an appropriate app) and get to thinking!Related posts: