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I Took a Vacation and You Should Too

ben profile image Ben Halpern ・2 min read

I wasn't particularly burnt out or dying for a vacation, but I had a short trip scheduled for last week and I came back feeling productive and clear about my work. It's a great feeling.

I feel like I maintain a decent work life balance in general, but I truly don't take a lot of time off. There are a few reasons for this. I like my work and I don't always love vacations in general. The overhead of planning and traveling sometimes seems like a wash for me in terms of what I'd like to be doing with my time. I can't say I don't feel a bit of pressure to push off vacations as the founder of a company with different stakeholders looking for me to be productive. My family, with a single parent, also never took a vacation that I can recall. So in an odd way I don't know how to really take full-on vacations.

Anyway, I spent a few days away from keyboard and it seems like it was really great for my brain. I came back with a pretty clear idea about important long term decisions, and excited about contributing to dev.to as a developer and director. Nothing broke when I was gone and the site also got its all-time high in traffic. As a function of a general trend, we hit all-time highs most weeks. πŸ™ƒ

I hope you also find some time for a vacation. It will boost your productivity and generally be good for your health. Don't put it off too long.

Happy coding! ❀️

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Ben Halpern

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A Canadian software developer who thinks he’s funny. He/Him.

Discussion

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I totally agree! You don't even have to go anywhere on your vacation. Make it a "staycation" -- stay at home, get caught up on errands you need to run or even just relax on the couch and binge Netflix -- it doesn't matter but do take that time off once in a while. It makes such a difference when you come back to work.

 

Yeah!

One vacation I'd like to try based on my current situation:

I lived in NYC, and I recently moved to a town slightly outside of NYC and work from home. That was great for my brain in and of itself, but I'm thinking that I could find some people who'd like to occasionally apartment swap for long weekends. They'd love to retreat to our lovely town and we could be tourists in the city again, maybe catching a show without having to come all the way back home. Like a free AirBnB between trusted parties and clear mutual benefit.

 
 

You are absolutely correct! Whenever I take a vacation, I don't know how but when I come back I know I need to get many things done. And just to cover up for those days, we become more productive before as well as after the vacation 😁 I am planning to have a good long weekend this time. Let's see what would come next 😝

 

Yes. So much this.

It can be too easy to fall into the trap of:

10 wake up
20 commute to work
30 work all day
40 commute home
50 go to bed
60 goto 10

Taking the time to be offline is both wonderful and required for a healthy life. "Offline" will mean different things to different people. For some, it will be AFK, whereas for others it will be completely disconnecting from the world. Where ever on that scale you fit, please do it.

We tend to gloss over mental health issues in the tech industry, but by doing so you can end up with some long lasting problems. But by taking the time out to relax and re-connect with yourself, you'll find that you feel better and more chilled out.

Something's gotta give

I spent some time away, this past weekend. It wasn't even a long weekend, either. I met up with some friends, attempted to beat an escape room, and had an evening away from work, live, the Internet, and email.

Being away from home, family, work, email, and all of that, for less than 32 hours had a huge effect on my behaviour, well being and morale.

Just go do it, whatever it is.

 

I hope you also find some time for a vacation. It will boost your productivity and generally be good for your health. Don't put it off too long.

As a European used to the standard of going on holiday for longer periods of time I endorse this message :D

As a function of a general trend, we hit all-time highs most weeks. πŸ™ƒ

Wow!!

 

Yes, absolutely.

I think many people think that the more hours they put it, the better it is, but the truth is, like many of us have found out the hard way, is that some of the most valuable moments happen when you're 'looking the other way'.

Personally, I like to go out cycling or running once a day (where so many ideas and solutions just pop into your head) and as a long time athlete, I know that it's on those rest days in between training when you get stronger.

So I see work the same way. Train hard, work hard, but those recovery days is just as important.

Being productive requires a healthy balanced mind + body.

 

Damn, I sooo want to but then I also want to contribute 100 days to Open Source, which makes it hard. But I will surely do that once I've completed these 100 days. Will probably go to the Himalayas again. I still remember my trip to Spiti.

 

Absolutely! I think I’m terms of hierarchy of breaks. There’s the ten minutes between coding sessions. Time off at the weekends. Short and long vacations. And even sometimes months at at time. They all serve their purpose!

 

Thanks for sharing stories like this about work-life balance, because it's an important reminder that it's not productive if you go too long without a break.

When you're very attached to a project there's the fear that if you step away for a minute, something will go wrong and it's all going to crash.

At some point, learning to delegate and trust your team is a really important lesson.

 
 
 

I just leave for a couple hours. Doing exercises can relax. Actually I don't have time for a vacation 🀣

 

I'm usually so busy I forget I can take vacations. Thanks for reminding me πŸ˜‰

Also your post made me wonder about dev.to work culture/ work life balance. Maybe a future post?? πŸ˜„

 
 

Vacations are so important! Thank you for sharing.

As my mom used to say before retiring from her career in oil & gas: "if they can't make gasoline without me, we have a much bigger problem."

 

Great advice Ben!
It's so funny how this crosses sooo many disciplines, right?