This week I went to Washington state, which was a lot further north and west than I originally thought, for a vacation. I arrived at the airport and made my usual record time through security and into the terminal.
[Insert all of the normal things that go with flying here.]
As we lifted off into the air, I took a book out of my bag and began to read. I hit page 92 or so when I was seized by frustration that refused to be ignored until I made note of it. After making my notes, I re-read them in awe. I was angry about a lot of things, but I hadn’t had time to process them until I was in the air for four hours and nowhere to go.
I think vacations bring the best and worst out of us in that way. Not being stuck to a schedule gives you time to think a bit more expansively and sometimes it hurts. A lot.
When I’m at work, no matter how frustrated I get, I have to reign all of that in because professionalism requires it. You don’t blow up about things, you don’t have the time you’d like to come up with creative solutions because things have to get done. Objectives, quotas, that email you’ve put off, etc are clamoring for your attention and so on…
But then you suddenly have time. Everything you’ve ever wanted to go “Man, if I didn’t have to…” is before you without a single distraction excepting what you place there and it is energizing!
…Or downright exhausting.
I think it might be worth considering that, regardless of your job, when you’re as passionate about things as I tend to be, you need that time to think creatively about what’s working and how to make it better, faster, etc. However, I have a job that is subject to lots of demand for personal attention and quick responses, not to mention frequent interruption. By the time I can think in a straight line, I’m just as likely to tune out and enjoy the breather instead of taking that energy into something more creative and useful to everyone.
Fact: it is a very human thing to do and I am very human even when I’d rather not be.
There are plenty of studies on this subject, but I would like to suggest – as I often do – that we make time and lots of it in our professional lives for creative thought and “doing nothing” so that you have time to think, breathe, recuperate, and remember why you even took your job in the first place.
My own musings have led me into a meeting and likely a powerpoint that I’ll meet half with dread and half with joy, but at least there is a direction and that is everything.
Here’s another vacation picture because the time I was away was really enjoyable.