My Self-Made Vacation Begins Now

I have been struggling to put one foot in front of the other lately. My list of projects and tasks is piling up, and every time I look at it all I want to do is have a nap. Not being the sharpest knife in the drawer, I keep trying to slog ahead, ignoring that my motivation is shrivelling, my energy is dwindling, and I’m starting to resent things I usually enjoy.

I finally realized that, if I want to actually recoup energy and interest, I can no longer put off taking time off. And then all the Reasons-Why-I-Can’t started piling up: I can’t afford a vacation right now / I can’t take time off work / I already have all these commitments / I’ll be letting people down. Fortunately, eventually my coaching training kicked in and asked me to question both my assumptions and my perspectives.

Ok, I thought. Maybe I can’t go to France for a week. But there must be things that I can take vacation from. I started making a list, and with every item I added I felt more energized.

As you check it out, I invite you to ask yourself, “What do I need a vacation from?” Small or large, I bet that at least part of your self-made vacation is right here, within reach, just waiting for you to kick back with a mojito.

So, here it is: things I can and will take vacation from until September 1st:

  • Blogging.
  • My RSS Feed.
  • Twitter, Facebook, and most of the internet.
  • Making daily and weekly to-do lists.
  • Tracking how I spend my money. (An end of month total will suffice this month.)
  • Sending non-necessary emails / replying to emails that can wait.
  • Reading any list-serve or newsletter emails.
  • Beating myself up for not doing the project work I was planning to do in August.
  • Reading books for next year’s coursework.
  • Business development.
  • Planning.
  • Writing and sending my coaching-tip-of-the-week newsletter.
  • Any business-related administrative work that is non-urgent.
  • Checking email more than twice a day.
  • Writing my Monday notes to self / intentions for the week.
  • Scheduling any new social engagements. Spontaneous things – great; scheduled things – stressful.
  • Writing letters and postcards.
  • That list of phone calls that is on my white board and keeps taunting me with it’s not-yet-done-ness. I’m erasing it – now!
  • The radio. I’m going to listen inward instead.
  • A weekly assessment of all my tasks, projects, and ideas. (Yes, you may be noticing that I need a break from my usual super-organized and planning self.)
  • Trying to control my feelings. If I’m sad, lonely, tired, happy, excited, whatever, I’m just going to go with it instead of trying to figure it out.
  • Making decisions.
  • Going the extra mile.
  • Offering help.
  • Trying to be smart.
  • Trying to have it figured out.

Wow. What a relief! I’m stunned to see how many things in my average week I can write off if I choose to. Where did they all come from?

And, to round this out, here is what I choose not to take vacation from:

  • Email twice a day
  • Already scheduled coaching and work commitments
  • Social engagements I have already committed to
  • Running
  • Being an aunt and a sister
  • My volunteer gig
  • Two business projects that I’ve put a September 1st deadline on
  • Dreaming
  • Imagining

I’ll be back in September. Until then, you can find me making mojitos.

Laura McGrath, CPCC, is a Toronto-based co-active life coach who helps smart people to live from their hearts. Let's talk! You can subscribe to Ready for Change news to receive thoughtful notes on personal growth, and you can contact Laura to find out if coaching is right for you.


  1. Dear Laura
    You carry a very heavy load it seems, even in your holidays.
    The stuff you dropped as you left for a vacation made quite a ‘clunk’ on your posting here.

    I trust you are resting and refilling.

    All the best for the new refreshed you.