Vacations are always hard to come back from, but the summer break ritual is a particularly challenging departure from routine.
For me, it meant cramming a two-week trip to Georgia along with four days in Bear Lake and a few smaller excursions into a four week period.
After a month of doing the bare minimum of regular work and household responsibilities, I would really rather not get back on the horse.
In spite of my desire to languish on the deck for at least one more day, I faced the inevitable with a few well-timed launch activities:
Brainstorming (aka an excuse to sip iced coffee for an hour)
I am a firm believer that when we step back from our work, whether you’re an entrepreneur or an employee, we can achieve a level of creative thoughtfulness that not only improves our performance, it motivates us to jump in.
Here’s my recipe: Two iced coffees, a good listener, and an hour on the deck first thing in the morning.
This is how I started my first full day back to routine yesterday.
In the process, I shot around several new and evolving business ideas, quickly shot them down, and then committed to following through on a product experiment that is genuinely aligned with my business goals. I couldn’t wait to get started.
Ever since I left the 9 to 5 world, I’ve made it a priority to exercise 2-3 times per week. But my gym classes went out the window with the erratic travel and I only snuck in a few long walks over the past month.
I don’t care if you absolutely hate the concept of exercise – it is imperative that you do it AND there is some form of it out there that you will survive, maybe even love.
Once the brainstorming session got the juices flowing, I jumped on my airdyne bike, popped in my earbuds, and pedaled away to cheesy tunes like The Fighter by Gym Class Heroes.
Thirty minutes later, the endorphins were flowing and I was invincible.
The above two steps may have launched me into my to-do list with some serious motivation, but we all know that can slip away by early afternoon. Working toward a reward at the end of it all carried me across the finish line.
The key is to pick something that you really, really enjoy doing and set a hard deadline.
My natural deadline with my kids is around 4 PM, at which point there is a no-holds-barred evening of fun ahead, often including a return to the deck with an iced tea, cooking dinner from scratch, playing, and soaking late into the night in the hot tub.
I work a great deal less than I did when I was “employed”. However, I get a lot more of what’s meaningful done nowadays and I love it (as opposed to the heart burn that came on strong every Sunday night in the old days).
Try it out. Build in at least 30 minutes to simply ease into the morning without pressure, get your blood flowing with a bit of exercise, and then set up an evening that will push you to get done early.
Exercise at the start of the day rarely ever happens for me. But I’m sure I pay for that in some productivity.
My hack for exercise is to trick myself into just putting my running shoes on. My psyche argues with me about actually having to run, or lift, or whatever thing I’m actually going to do. But like a small child, I can trick it by saying “Let’s just put on our running shoes, and then we can decide what we want to do afterwards.” Once the shoes are on, it’s like my laziness works to my advantage. It’s actually more work to take them off than it is to just jump in the car. And by then it’s too late…
Love it. That’s how I’ve been able to make exercise classes work for me. It’s not very difficult to lace up and drive to the gym, especially since I get to gab it up with a girlfriend in the process.
Sounds lovely! Welcome back!