- Vacations are awesome.
- Too much of paradise can become miserable
- Keeping vacations short and sweet (and more frequent) may be ideal
- Find balance between social fun and getting things done
I once gave a presentation to people who were wondering their best way to use PTO “paid time off”. They seemed to be under the impression that I was “always on vacation”. While everyone was talking about the need for a week or two break I recommended the following:
- Enjoy frequent long weekends (3-4 days off)
- Avoid extended vacations
Why is this?
- The mind de-sensitives itself to pleasure after being on vacation
- After bouts of hard work you re-up your ability to enjoy more
- Adding an additional day (or two), i.e. Monday or Friday to the weekend creates a balanced lifestyle
- Your PTO lasts much longer. *
The Bottom Line: There is a sweet spot when it comes to vacationing and more is not always better. The same goes for working. Less isn’t always better. Finding a balance between getting things done and social fun will keep the mind hard wired to be happy while feeling meaning and purpose.
The best weeks I’ve had: I’ve kept a journal for many years now and it is quite clear that working hard for 3-4 days at a time followed by a 3 or 4 day weekend unleashes the “WeCan Weekend Mindset”. This is especially a great format in the summer time.
A simple but proven rotational schedule:
Week one – 5 day work week, 2 day weekend
Week two – 3 day work week, 4 day weekend
Week three- 4 day work week, 3 days weekend
Repeat, or mix and match as desired!
*I’d trade in a month off for 25 WeCan Weekends in a heart beat:
(Just a little secret- I have pulled this stunt before). This kind of move had me labeled as an “internal vacation consultant” amongst fellow employees.
Lets say you get 5 weeks of PTO. You can have off for just over a month or 25 3 day weekends. Granted a month off is pretty sweet but returning to work for 11 months isn’t. Not to mention that you’ll probably be a bit bored on some days off here and there as your mind will make a vacation that long the “new normal”. Now the other side of the puzzle allows for over half of your weekends of the year becoming “WeCan Weekends”. This is a formula where you crush work for 4 days, up-regulate the mind to the good times and then have a ball for a 3 day period. It also proves as a great refresher to getting things done. You might even say “Heck, work ain’t so bad, I kinda dig the grind and after all it allows me to enjoy every weekend so it’s a necessary evil. Not to mention there is a sense of purpose and accomplishment in learning and conquering new challenges.”
A few quotes that reel in the WeCan Weekend:
“The sum of various mini-rewards holds more weight in the human mind than one large one. The key is in finding balance and appreciating smaller rewards. “
“Happy people seem to have one central theme in common. The ability to make the best out of all the small things.”
“If you’re waiting your whole life to meet the wizard of oz you might just miss the yellow brick road you’ve been traveling on.”
“Before you start your day touch the ground, a tree or jump in the ocean. Accept that it’s all connected. Even though your piece of this connection is small, it’s unique.. and that.. you’re thankful for.”
One proven way to “get wet” is to jump right in.