This year I’ve inexplicably violated one of my time-honored work-life balance rules, and now I’m paying the price.
I call it the Vacation Rule. Basically, it stipulates that a vacation — not an out-of-town conference, or a long weekend getaway, but an honest-to-God, more than a week in duration vacation — must be on the calendar at all times. In my experience, the humdrum elements of the workaday world are much easier to accept if there is a vacation shining brightly in the not-too-distant future. The idea is to always have a trip to someplace warm, or someplace interesting, or someplace new, written down and blocked out, concrete and committed to, so that you see it when you look at your work calendar to schedule meetings and other work events and smile a secret inner smile. It helps to break the work year into manageable bite-sized chunks.
This year, though, I’ve stupidly violated the rule. When we returned from our trip in December, I didn’t immediately schedule the next trip. That’s a problem because, if you let time pass and the calendar fills up with other work commitments, it gets harder and harder to arrange a vacation in the near future. There are too many other things that have to be moved, so you end up just picking a free time period that is months away . . . and that’s vaguely depressing.
The only solution is to get that vacation on the calendar, whenever it may be. You’ll feel better. Then, put your head down and keep working until the vacation appears dead ahead on the workplace horizon — and be sure never to violate the Vacation Rule again.