Productivity and GTD

An Advice for Your Vacation

AUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
Blog productivity

Vacations are a fabulous and essential time to relax, to enjoy yourself and to renew your energies. I talked last year about the importance of vacations to restore the level of attention you need to live your life efficiently for the rest of the year. Studies show that most people have a better perspective on their life and are more motivated to achieve their goals after taking a vacation, no matter how short it is.

As I believe it’s no longer necessary to stress the importance of rest for productivity, I’m going to focus on another aspect of your vacation that you should take advantage of: your mental state.

When you go on vacation your mental state changes radically. You’ll probably spend your vacation in a place other than the one you’re used to. Your mind will work a bit differently during those few days. You’ll worry a lot less about doing and a lot more about thinking, but you won’t be doing this deliberately.

Well, this new mindset is a unique opportunity to turn your life around. There’ll be plenty of moments—when you’re on a beach deckchair drinking a daikiri, while you’re taking a long walk in the woods, etc.—when, without realizing it, you’ll be thinking about your past, present, and future. The special conditions of a vacation help the mind to wander, which has very positive effects.

It’s not about doing anything in particular, but it would be a shame to waste a mental state so propitious to give some clarity to your life. Take advantage of your thoughts and inner journeys to guide your future. When your vacation is over, don’t let all those thoughts simply vanish as if they’d never existed.

Capture all of those thoughts that come to your mind during your vacation. They won’t be small tasks and projects like in the rest of the year, when you’re in a much more operative mode. But rather important things at higher levels, related to your areas of responsibility, goals, principles and the way you’d like your future to be. Great or crazy ideas, who knows. But they’re worth keeping, because they only come to your mind when you’re on vacation and afterwards they just disappear.

A great way to do this is to write a journal about what you’ve done, thought, and felt each day. Psychologists say that keeping a journal helps to clarify your thoughts and feelings, to solve problems more effectively, to relieve stress and, ultimately, to know yourself better.

When on vacacion, restrict yourself to collecting. Don’t process, don’t organize, don’t do anything with it. It’s the time to collect raw stuff. Then, when you’re back from vacation, take time to re-read your journal, put everything you think is relevant into your GTD system and process it. Surely you’ll be putting your life on a much more meaningful and consistent path with your true self.

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