Make a choice about where you work, and when you work. Start rethinking the way you use your work day. If you can’t figure out how to take a week of vacation, then take an hour or so, and do one of the the following:
Ten Ways to Vacation At Work
- Go to a movie at a time other than lunch. Take in the whole thing and then stand outside the theater, look into the sky, and decide how the movie changed you. If not changed, why not. Don’t get out your tablet and run to Flixster to write a review; that probably isn’t a vacation activity.
- Go to lunch with your family. Then go shopping with the wife and kids for an extra hour. What did you learn about your family? How did playing hooky make you feel?
- Go to a park or walk on a new trail or path someplace with grass and trees. Keep track of how many urban animals you see. Did you ever purposefully notice them before?
- Go to a bookstore, pick up a book or magazine you have never read. Thumb through it for interest if it’s a magazine, flip cover to cover. Let go. Do any images or topics intrigue you that you would normally not find interesting?
- Go to your nearest downtown. Take out your digital camera and take pictures of buildings and spaces and things. Take pictures of sculptures and zoom in on walls and sidewalk patterns. Try to look on with a sense of wonder, because chances are, you have no idea how to build huge structures, and certainly no idea of what is going on in every room on every floor, or how people came up with the textures all around you. Have you noticed the textures before?
- Write a poem. Even a bad poem. If you take two hours, you can turn a bad poem into a good poem. If you are stuck for a word, rather than turning on your computer, go to a used bookstore and find a thesaurus. Don’t buy it; just use it and then put it gently back on the shelf.
- Go bowling with some friends. Be the designated driver; that way, your two-hour vacation will only last two hours (and your spouse or loved one won’t need to leave their work to collect you from the local precinct.)
- Draw something. It doesn’t matter if you are good or not. Like the poem, two hours will make you better. Being on vacation doesn’t mean you can’t learn, but it does mean avoiding your regular work. Explore different tools and media. Work through frustrations, either those from work or those associated with drawing and not mastering the skill. You aren’t applying to art school. You are just taking a creative break, so give yourself a break.
- Do nothing. Take a nap in your car. Fall asleep on a park bench. Sneak home for whatever you sneak home for (as long as it doesn’t involve checking e-mail).
Of course, chances are you are working an extra hour in the evening, or two or three or four. So finally,
- Go without guilt because this extra hour is an investment in attention, not a distraction.
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