Finding the Off Switch

I start my vacation tomorrow. Back when I was working for Other People, vacation would have started at 5:01pm Eastern, or as soon thereafter as I could slip past my boss’s door. But I’m my own boss now. I finished the last piece I needed to ship to a client about an hour ago, but I’m still here at the computer: I can’t find the Off switch.

Hitting the off switch — a man's finger pointing to the word OFFThis vacation is one of four I’ve scheduled for myself this year—one week every quarter, as I try to learn how to unwind. Last quarter, I took a day or two off and then attended a workshop in Southern California. Doesn’t sound like a vacation to you? Listen, to someone escaping a New England winter, just feeling that sweet, sweet California sun is vacation enough.

This quarter, I’m treating myself to a Staycation. (I actually wrote “challenging myself to” first—and then I realized vacations aren’t supposed to be challenging.) And I compromised on my vacation before it even began, ceding Monday and Tuesday to client work. But with next Monday being a holiday, I actually have six whole days of vacating ahead of me. Which is just about as close to a week as you can get.

But what do you do when you’re not tromping around a theme park or pulling a shawl around your body in some too-cold hotel conference room? All the ideas I come up with sound a lot like work:

  • I could make a to-do list for the projects I want to pursue this summer
  • I could read that book written by the person I’m going to interview in a couple of weeks
  • I could clean my house

I could clean my house? Yeah, you know things are desperate when I put cleaning my house on the to-do list. It’s not even tax time.

What will I do? I’m starting with a massage in about an hour, and we’ll see where things go from there.

But first I have to hit the Off switch. I gotta say, I’m nervous about that. What if I can’t do it? Or—maybe worse—what if I can…and I like it?

Stay tuned.