Today is the last day of a 10-day vacation. During my time away, I went to Chicago and St. Louis to spend time with friends out of town and see the band Flipper celebrate 40 years of existence. I watched four movies – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, John Wick, Boyhood, and Toy Story 4. I spent a day playing board games – Russian Railroads, Tiny Towns, Gùgōng, and Solenia, as well as several rounds of Red 7 over the week with my partner and best friend. I celebrated National Hot Dog Month, first with a visit to Devil Dawgs in Chicago, and then all through last week with subsequent Chicago Dogs at Bulldog in Lowertown, Chicago Taste Authority on West 7th Avenue, and Portillo’s in Roseville. I rode my bike a little, took a couple of walks here and there, played rounds of pinball at Tilt and Ox Cart, attended the St. Paul Board Game meetup, hung out at my favorite taproom, and otherwise did whatever I felt was necessary to unplug and take some proper time away from work.
Importantly, I spent the vast majority of my time completely logged out of my work Slack and e-mail, breaking down only yesterday afternoon to see what I’d missed in the week prior (hint: it wasn’t anything that couldn’t wait until tomorrow). I worked on a client-side app for my micro-blogging/Twitter alternative plugin, Into the Void, and reviewed Zac Gordon’s course about Headless WordPress on Udemy for inspiration and to level-up my own skills. But, for the most part, I didn’t spend much of this time in front of a text editor, and I think my vacation was better for it.
Tomorrow, I go back to work, and there’s still so much I didn’t get around to doing that I’m going to have to take care of in the coming weeks and months. I have talks to prepare and refine, new skills to learn, and personal projects to push along. The time off has been rejuvenating, though, and I feel better equipped to tackle these additional tasks after taking that time away than I did before.
Before this past week, it’d been five months since I’d last taken a scheduled PTO day. If you’re in a similar situation, I highly encourage you to give yourself a break, even if it just means taking a long weekend. Get out of town, enjoy the weather, read a book, or do whatever you enjoy doing that helps you unwind and takes your mind off your daily work tasks. You’ll come back refreshed and ready to tackle the challenges ahead.
Life moves fast; enjoy it. Work will be there for you when you get back.