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Making the Most of Short Vacations

When we took shorter vacations, we actually ended up more refreshed. This doesn't seem logical. However our approach toward productivity or lack there of--not the number of days away--are what made the difference.
09/16/2016 04:50pm ET | Updated September 17, 2017
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A very interesting phenomenon happened for both me and one of my coaching clients this summer....

When we took shorter vacations, we actually ended up more refreshed.

This doesn't seem logical. However our approach toward productivity or lack there of--not the number of days away--are what made the difference.

In the longer vacations, we had a vague sense that we should still try to get a few things done. In his case, the items were work related. In my case, they were personal to-do's.

But either way we had an agenda and wanted to accomplish things.

In both instances, we didn't really feel like being productive. This created tension between kind of feeling like we should be ticking items off the list and not wanting to do anything. That lead to not getting much done and not feeling very relaxed.

This "gray" time where we weren't really on but weren't really off was unfortunately dissatisfying.

During our shorter times away--really just long weekends--we completely unplugged. No expectation of productivity and little to no time on phones or the computer.

The results were phenomenal--actually feeling refreshed and satisfied in a fraction of the time.

There was a clear "black" of productive time to work before and after the times away and "white" of relax time while we were away. No gray.

As you think through your approach to travel for the rest of the summer and into the fall, I encourage you to consider quality over just quantity to maximize the positive impact of time off.

This same strategy can also work for planning much shorter periods of time like a weekend or free evening. When you make a clear distinction between when you will get things done and when you will be distinctly non-productive you can enjoy both more.

About Real Life E

Elizabeth Grace Saunders is the founder and CEO of Real Life E® a time coaching company that empowers individuals who feel guilty, overwhelmed and frustrated to feel peaceful, confident and accomplished. She is an expert on achieving more success with less stress. Real Life E® also encourages Christians to align themselves with God's heart through Divine Time Management.

McGraw Hill published her first book The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment: How to Achieve More Success with Less Stress. Harvard Business Review published her second book How to Invest Your Time Like Money. Elizabeth contributes to blogs like Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Fast Company and has appeared on CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox.