Letting Things Slow & Go

First full day of vacation and purposeful slow time is under way. A later night and a typical early morning and a long day of nothing have me mindful of letting things go.

Stiff sticky shirt and shorts from ocean water now dry? Ok. Sand dust still on my legs, between my toes? Fine. Laughter upstairs of good convo I might be missing? Oh well. 

To my left my son lightly snores. To my right my daughter sleeps silently, her left arm over her head. It’s getting towards five o’clock in the afternoon. Tired from the morning on the beach, and early afternoon playing with their cousin. 

We work at such a feverish pace usually, the task list long and demanding, that when “doing nothing” is your primary objective it feels a little weird. You feel a little guilty. Then you remember, “Oh yea, I’m on vacation. This is good for me.”

Yes it is.

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A Fresh Look at PTO: A Purposeful Minimalist Goes On Vacation

Wrote this piece last year before the family vacation.  Priming again this week for this year’s vacation, starting on Saturday.  Pretty stoked.  I fell a bit short of my “goals” last year — gonna have another go to make the most of each and every vacation day.

On average, annual “paid time off” in the United States (PTO in business-speak vernacular) is about 10 days.  Some people don’t even take THAT much time away from work during the year, aside from holidays.  

Link this fact with the ever-increasing pace of life and work, the increased awareness of the importance of having leisure time, unplugging, etc., and the rise of the minimalist movement in the face of it all and what might you conclude?  

It makes a lot of sense to approach time off from work very deliberately, very thoughtfully.  We need to be sure we vacation “on purpose”.   

If it’s true in everyday life, then the so-called “minimalist approach” makes even more sense for time away from work, in my view.  

We start with a shift in mind-set:  you’re on VACATION now, LEAVE, TIME OFF…pick your term, the point is, it’s time to forget about your work life for a while.  

The pending projects, the accounts receivable, the deliverables, the problems…but also the big wins, the successes, the long fought-for successes.  It’s time to turn off that part of your life for a bit.  This process takes effort. It must be done on purpose, as noted above.

When you leave your office or close your work laptop for the last time before vacation, mentally, actively file away everything that’s pending at work until you get back.  It’ll be there, don’t worry.  

It helps to make a list of everything you have pending BEFORE you go, a day or so before you leave, updated as necessary on that final day, so you can re-engage upon your return.

And then FORGET ABOUT IT.  That’s Step One.

Step Two requires equal purpose:  make a special effort to focus on what matters during your time off.  It’s best to think a little bit about it off and on in the weeks or days leading up to the beginning of the vacation.  

What do you want to accomplish? What’s the main goal (or goals) during your time off?  

In this particular case study (my upcoming trip to the beach with the family), I’ve got a clear idea of what I want to accomplish.

A few words sum things up nicely.

Relax and Unplug (from the day to day work mindset, attitude, pace).

Rest (naps as appropriate).

Reconnect (and go deeper, with the little things that make parenting and married life worth while). 

Recharge (naps as appropriate once again, but also allowing my mind to slow down, and wander).

To accomplish these four basic, inter-related goals, I know it will help for me to whittle down to basic needs, wants, requirements for the days off.  

What will be left will be my three little kids, my lovely wife, extended family, and time in an awesome, peaceful place.  

Taking purposeful steps to simplify will create a frame for the rest to happen.  As life unfolds each day, I’m going to watch it do so at a slow motion, participate deeply therein, and soak up the moments.   

 The following list is one of my preparation steps, my humble “minimalist” packing list for the five day family vacation at the beach:


1 sun hat

1 ball cap

1 hooded sweatshirt

1 water-resistant shell jacket

1 long-sleeve shirt

1 pair of warm/fleece pants

2 pair of shorts

3 tee shirts (plan to hand wash once)

3 underwear (plan to hand wash once)

1 pair of socks (plan to hand wash as needed)

1 pair of shoes

1 pair of flip flops

reading glasses

sun glasses

toiletries

reader

iPhone* for journaling notes, morning/evening news, emergency calls; 

*Important: NOT for emails

And so with just two days to go until me and the family drives south, this little outline and “statement of purpose” is my personal effort to get every drop of delicious value from this vacation.   

I’m fixin’ to do so.  I‘ll let you know how it turns out.  

See you on the other side.

References:

http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/no-vacation-update-2013-05.pdf

http://www.theminimalists.com/






What America Do You Want To Live In?

americanflag

I try to steer clear of blatant, direct commentary or story otherwise, related to politics. That space is plenty filled by pundits, talking heads, policy wonks, and spin doctors (and legit political scientists and journalist too).  However, after seeing this quote from ol’ Pat Buchanan, I have to offer a simple thought, at last.

Here’s what I read:

“A secession of the heart has already taken place in America, and a secession, not of states, but of people from one another, caused by divisions on social, moral, cultural and political views and values, is taking place.”  – Pat Buchanan in WorldNetDaily  You can find the whole piece here.

In my humble view, the whole thing boils down to attitude, and to freedom. I know that second word is LOADED with context and nuance and opinion.

Nonetheless, at the end of the day, the America I want to live in provides everyone the same rights, society (partially through government) takes care of those who need help, and offers opportunity for people from anywhere and everywhere looking for a better life.

Those were the ideas that inspired the people who first came to America, and those are the principles the country was founded on.

To our ancient credo based on timeless truths, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” let us add the traits we can all nurture — “Tolerance, Understanding, and Compromise” — and make our country a better place, TOGETHER.

#Worklife 1.0

rabbitoutofhat

Lately business has been a bit challenging.

With the energy sector in the space it is now (and has been for the past twelve months or so), budgets have been adjusted, belts have been tightened, plans have been scaled back.  In the capital equipment business, that means orders have slowed some, and the values have similarly shrunk.

There’s business to be had out there, but the sales cycle is often longer now, and the outcome more uncertain.  More rocks have to be flipped looking for opportunity, and you have to be dogged in your pursuit.   Lots of people are uncomfortable with the uncertainty, the slowed business. Candidly, I “feel” the same.  But at the end of the day, you can only do so much, and market reality is market reality.

Rather than trying to pull a rabbit out of the hat, you have to change with the conditions and keep moving forward.  Lots of folks think they understand the sales job. Many think they can do it (& many can for sure). But it’s not as easy as one might think.

Here are a few personal maxims that come to mind:

To thrive you must be able to adapt to change. And find inspiration everywhere. And self-motivate. And share the energy.

One of the key traits of a good sales person is managing, and overcoming, uncertainty. Lots of people struggle with that.

Patience, Perseverance, Tenacity, Creativity, & Positive Thinking: These are the main drivers behind successful sales people.  And probably safe to say, good life lessons for everyone.