tomfromhr.com a blog on tech, politics, life and zombies

27Nov/111

Tom’s Life Lessons: How to Vacation

A good friend of mine recently told me that she did not know how to be on vacation. This perplexed and saddened me, greatly. I am a great vacationer. I know precisely how to relax, how to slack off, and how to stop worrying about anything outside the world.
So, we come to the next installment in my award ready series, Tom's Life Lessons: How to Vacation

  1. Turn off all work related devices. Cell phones, pagers, emails, anything where work can reach you, turn it off. I like to have an emergency number or email address, but to make it clear that this is to be used only in an emergency. This runs the risk that every little issue that comes up may be seen as an emergency to those left behind, but it's a risk you take. Alternatively, give them a number to reach you at, and promptly turn off that phone. The important thing is to make it as difficult as possible for work to reach you, and you to reach work. While this may not be possible in all jobs, it's best to try.
  2. Stay up late and sleep in. This part is critical to getting a good vacation time going. Stay up late. Do whatever. Read, play games, watch TV. The point is to wake up the next day just a little thrown off, and just a little sleepy. This helps to establish a trend of sleeping in and taking it easy.
  3. Do little things around the house, slowly. One of the lovely parts of vacation is being able to do all those things you never have time, or are too exhausted, to do otherwise. However, you have to be careful not to do any real actual work. Ideally you want to do something like clean a room with an episode of something playing (or, better yet, several episodes of something queued up on Netflix). Take a break every few minutes to watch a good scene. Wander in and out of the room. In general, do what you have to do, but do it slowly and enjoy it. Reward yourself with a snack after.
  4. Never see people before noon. Because you have the entire day off it may be tempting to schedule a coffee at 10, or 11, or even 9. Resist this temptation. Much like the famous adage "nothing good happens after 2am," on vacation, "nothing good happens before noon." Stay in, relax, sleep. Give yourself time to recover, have a nice breakfast, and have a lazy sleep in. Scheduling anything before noon will only result in you feeling groggy and your entire day being thrown off.
  5. Exercise, but not too much. A bit of exercise is always good, but too much can feel like work. Go for a long walk. Take the dog. But go slow, and don't go too crazy. The idea with this piece is to feel like you've accomplished something without actually really straining yourself. This is key.
  6. Never let yourself feel guilty. Never compare your vacation to someone else's. Let it stand for itself, and let yourself relax. You deserve it, and it will help you for when you go back to work. The idea of this kind of vacation is to allow you to recover and relax. Not to push yourself, and not to energize you, but to truly sink back and recover.

Now this kind of vacation may not be for everyone, and that's fine. But I think this is a good recipe for relaxation that allows you to really just let go. Because Gods know we all hold onto things a bit too tightly these days.

7Nov/111

#hallowedding

Followers of my blog (or Twitter, or Facebook, or any followers in any way) may know I went to a wedding last weekend. I called it the #hallowedding, cause everyone loves a hashtag and it was around Halloween.

As I said before, I love weddings. The professions of love, the families coming together, friends celebrating, all that. It's a unique experience for all, and I was honoured to be invited.

The drive itself was nice. Scenic, pleasant, not too much traffic. I'm definitely glad I took the day off work, as it was nice not having to rush and being able to get there in my own time. I used Siri and a headset to stay in touch with folks and, thankfully, had a friend home for the day as well who was willing to keep me company over the phone when I felt like a bit of human contact. It's funny but, for me, that was the toughest and weirdest part of the drive. I can't really Tweet, or read the news or do much more than listen to static, recorded programs. I suppose I could listen to the radio too, but it's not the norm for me, and I can't really interact with the radio. That loss of interaction was, to me, a bit odd. Hardly the end of the world, though.

After a few hours I came into Perth, Ontario. It's a small town, not far from Ottawa, my nation's capital. A bit more conservative, a bit more quiet than I'm used to, but nice. Took me forever to find the hotel (lots of back and forth as I did). But find it I did, finally!

4Nov/110

Only slightly belated November Goals

Better than November, I, getting my goals out early! I'll admit I didn't get very far into October's, so things are carrying over a bit. I did accept help more often, and I started to work on getting my finances in order. I did poorly in terms of weight, but I'm getting there. I got some professional development done too, though work interfered with one of the sessions I had planned to join.

This month's are maybe a bit more off, but I like them.

Do more for myself. What I mean by this is doing more things independently. Accepting help when it's offered, but not basing my life around it. As an example, my Mom offers most mornings to drive me to the train station. This saves me time and allows for a nice time to chat with her. But it also means I'm relatively dependent on her to drive me home at the end of the day, and I often will avoid staying late at work in order to not have to, at short notice, cancel on her. While this isn't the end of the world, I generally try to be home for dinner and not disturb things. I do want to be respectful of my Mom's time, but I also don't want to be reliant on her, both for drives and dinner. So in general I'd like to start determining my own schedule more, and asking her if this is okay with her. And if it's not, then maybe I start driving myself and cooking for myself, which I am totally okay doing. Things like this in general, where I'm moving away from being dependent on my parents and others, is one of my goals for November.

Spend less than $300 For this I am talking about purchases. Games, movies, music, books. Truthfully I think I mostly do this anyway, but often some great new toy comes out of some big new thing I must have, and that'll be the last big thing I buy, I swear, this will change everything. Yeah. That doesn't happen. So this month I am setting a budget of $300, starting tomorrow. I'm not including meals out, which some others might, but I think these social events are good for me, so I'm okay with those expenses.

Get up 15 minutes earlier This is a small thing, but ideally I'd like to be getting up at 5 or so every day, doing a bit of yoga and meditation, freshly grinding and brewing coffee in my French Press, and cooking a healthy breakfast and reading the paper (on my iPad, of course). But right now I get up sleepily between 6:30 and 6:45 and scarf down whatever I can and rush out the door. This is not my ideal morning at all, and I'd like to change that. But going from that to 5 will likely lead to disaster. So for now, we'll aim for 6:15 and to have a slightly less rushed morning. I'm doing this now, though I'm also feeding the cat while my Mom's away, so I'm still pretty much as rushed as normal, since I have some extra stuff thrown on my plate. Next month, maybe we'll aim for 6.

Those are my simple goals for November. What are some of yours?

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