It's September again. I'm back in the office, home from my summer vacation in Portugal and Switzerland, and back to the realities of my life: deadlines and emails and meetings.
My natural reaction to the obligations September brings is to multitask. But, earlier this year, I promised myself to multitask less - it interrupts my focus and takes me out of the moment. I was reminded of how ineffective multitasking can be this morning at the gym when I tried to take an app-based French lesson, respond to emails and create a playlist while running. Nothing was done effectively and I almost tripped myself in the process.
Incorporating travel into life can be difficult. Everyone has a busy schedule, a demanding job, a life that needs tending to. I used to think that the only way to take vacation was to be constantly available and to work while away. Then I realized that I wasn't productive, producing quality work or enjoying my vacation. So, really, what was the point?
Of course on this vacation, the office contacted me. But this time, I was honest with myself and everyone else, both before and during my vacation, about how much availability I had and when assignments could be expected. I left few projects open and gave instructions to my assistant on where to find everything. So instead of working throughout my vacation, I worked for a few hours after dinner on one day, which coincided with the downtime of my travel companions and local friends. I wanted to respect their time as well as my own.
Otherwise, I got back to the business of being away. Being present on my vacation meant, for me, taking time away from the details and distractions of my daily life; taking long walks, long drives and deep breaths; taking moments to reflect and admire; and taking a true break from work. This vacation was successful - rejuvenating and inspiring - and now...back to work.