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Be more productive – take a vacation August 2, 2006

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Business, Coaching, Personal Success, Satisfaction, The 3 Key Life Aspects.

At this point, I decided I didn’t want to die in the desert.

Motorcycling north in Arizona from the Northern Rim of the Grand Canyon in late July, there’s a  lot of heat (+110 is normal), a few communities, some roadside attractions (Stop Here! Genuine Indian Handcrafts!) and some wonderful scenery. After a few hours of riding, all of these can add up, causing you road weariness. Not a good thing at 70 miles per hour on a vehicle with 2 wheels.

I wasn’t the least prepared for the large patch of melted tar in the middle of the road. When my back wheel was sliding so much that it started to look like it was my side wheel; it got me thinking about the idea of dying on this 2 laned highway and visualizing a bent up Roadstar covered with tar. Not a thought I wanted to hold in my mind – after all, I coach about the strength of the Law of Attraction.

I made it through the slippery muck and onto the rest of the road without damage. The trip continued on through Dixie National Park and Capital Reef National Park in Utah, and then into Colorado and over the Rockies.

When one is motoring – by bike or by car – you spend a lot more time thinking about stuff. It’s not like flying to a destination. The length of the journey (in my case 2000 miles) and time involved (7 days) makes you much more reflective about what you are seeing, and the things and people who are important in your life.

Another reason that I like bike trips is because they’re also fairly demanding physically (like: when you’re racing through twisty roads during a rain storm, or departing Aspen at 9000 feet high and the road is only 1 car width wide).

Motorcycle trips allow me to meet people living in tiny communities that otherwise I would never meet. After having spent most of my career in planes and flying to cities around the world – occasionally just for the purpose of a dinner meeting; I find this mode of travel to be replenishing. That’s what a vacation is all about. We should return feeling renewed, clear headed, and more present.

I came across an article by Jared Sandberg of the Wall Street Journal who covered another perspective about vacations. In it, he discusses some conclusions reached by Geoff Godbey, Professor of Leisure Studies at Penn State University. Key points:

1. To be most satisfying, leisure should resemble the best aspects of work: challenges, skills and important relationships.

2. Leisure has its own hierarchy. At it’s lowest, it’s a search for diversion, higher up it’s a search for pleasure, and at the top, it’s a search for meaning.

3. People who engage in skill-oriented leisure pursuits score higher on intelligence tests. How we vacation can make us stupider or smarter.

Finally he says, at the end of your life, how you spent your vacation and leisure time may be more important than even what you’ve done at work.

I often hear people say they are indispensable at work. They say they cannot take time to get away because the demands they face are ‘too great’. I imagine they might even believe that if they’re not present, the whole company would collapse.

This short-term outlook is bad.  Both for them personally and their job performance. Studies are clear that without regular breaks, we become less effective and ultimately stale. When we are stale we are far less valuable to employers and far less enjoyable to our loved ones. If you are one of those who thinks that working longer and harder is the solution to all your problems; I am afraid you’ve got a rather miserable life ahead of you. My advice is that that you force yourself to take that time off. Replenish your mind and body.

It will increase your satisfaction with life and make you more successful.




1. Economy news and blog - January 11, 2007

Very amazing site! I wish I could do something as nice as you did…mary

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