I’m supposed to be coming back from vacation right now. In a normal year, my February Warm Weather trip is one of my favorite things to do. We escape the Massachusetts winter for a week and relax and recharge in Florida or some other warm place. We have all sorts of special vacation traditions. There’s food we always eat, activities we always try—and I always do my Vacation Puzzle. I’ve never been a big jigsaw puzzle person at home, but I always do a puzzle on vacation. It’s one of those things that I associate with vacation, and sunshine, and relaxation.
This Year, No Vacation.
I’m staying close to home, continuing to social distance and follow safety protocols, and already thinking about next year’s warm weather trip. I have no regrets about canceling my travel plans during the pandemic. But I’m still disappointed and sad about not getting to go on that trip.
I’m sure many of you are in the same boat; unfortunately, it’s a metaphorical boat and not a catamaran. So many people I’ve talked to have had to cancel special trips and annual vacations over the last year. Maybe you haven’t been out of your neighborhood since 2019. Having to stay home may have kept you safe so far, but I’m guessing it has worn you down too.
Taking a Break for Better Time Management
If you’ve worked with me before, you know how strongly I feel about taking time off. It’s critical for good time management. When I help clients create a flexible template for their week, one of the things we always talk about is planning for time off. I want you be able to block out at least 24 straight hours every week. Taking time to completely disconnect from work lets you go back fresh, focused and ready to make progress on your goals.
Most of the time, taking off a Saturday or Sunday is enough of a break to keep you going through the next week. But we also need those extended breaks too. Research confirms that taking vacations can be beneficial for productivity, physical health and mental health.
So what are you supposed to do when a global pandemic keeps you from taking vacations and traveling?
Here’s what I’ve done: I cracked open a jigsaw puzzle, right here at home. I know—doing a puzzle in your living room doesn’t sound exciting, especially when everyone has been doing that this year. It’s certainly no substitute for a beach vacation. But I did a puzzle recently because I don’t usually do puzzles at home. It was a change of pace. It was something of a novelty for me.
Novelty is a Core Part of the Vacation Experience
Part of what’s so powerful about getting away from home for vacation is that it inherently shakes up your routine. We all need a change of scenery sometimes, whether it’s halfway around the world or a campsite 30 minutes from home. Changing your scenery can change your perspective, spark your creativity and help you reassess your priorities.
I think we’re all craving change right now. It’s been a long and, at times, monotonous year. Everyone I know (including myself!) has been struggling with the “February blahs.” The weather has been brutal in much of the U.S., so we can’t even spend much time outdoors.
And Maybe it Feels Like Nothing Will Ever Change
Starting a new year didn’t end the pandemic or fix your time management and productivity issues. Now you’re stuck in a loop, “Groundhog Day” style, wishing that something external would change so you could break out of your rut.
What I want you to know is that YOU have the power to make that change. You can break your own time loop by starting to do things differently starting right now. No one is going to come along and change things for you—taking control of your life is up to you.
- First, can you create novelty and change your scenery at home?
- Can you bring some of that vacation novelty energy into your life?
Think about what kind of novelty you’re craving from a vacation right now. Maybe you can’t go to Spain right now, but you can turn on some flamenco music and try cooking paella. Maybe you can’t go to the beach, but you can have a beach party in your living room—umbrella drinks and all.
The Other Piece of Creating Lasting Change in Your Life is Asking For Help
If you knew how to fix your time management challenges, and how to take control of your life, you would have done it already. Sometimes it takes just a little help to get started.
I can help. Schedule a Strategy Session for one-on-one support. I’ll help you figure out your next best steps, so you can finally start making the shifts you want to make. If you need a higher level of support for your time management and productivity challenges, you can also register now for Time Matters Boot Camp. This 90-day virtual program will help you create the lasting change you crave.
Remember, things will change—just as soon as you change them.