The office is probably a bit lighter these days as vacation season is underway. Taking time away from your job is a great way to recharge the battery and return to the workplace with a fresh perspective. But if you're like me (and I know I am), that freshness gets stale after a few days back at the grind. What if there was a way to a bottle that "I'm at the beach" feeling? While I can't offer a magic teleportation solution to your happy place, there are at least five-and-a-half principles from the beach that we might be able to take back to the cubicle jungle:
1. Go with the flow. Somehow doing things we don't necessarily enjoy isn't so bad while on vacation. From my dude perspective, I might sacrifice an afternoon at an Amish village churning butter for the sweet reward of seeing a ball game at night. Wouldn't the entire office be happier if everyone free flowed* [are you missing a footnote to this?] a little more?
2. Try new things. Back to churning butter ... it was actually pretty fun, wasn't it? Aren't you glad your wife made you do that? While the fun adventures of a vacation are slightly more intriguing than sorting an excel spreadsheet, we can capture this spirit at work. Search for a shortcut on the back roads of your pivot table to make your life smoother -- that can be a vacation of sorts in and of itself.
3. Make new friends and network. I can't tell you how many times I have struck up a conversation with a stranger at a restaurant on vacation. Why? Because I have nothing to lose. If I annoy that person or make a complete ass clown out of myself, what's the risk? This mentality can help in awkward networking situations. Politely ignore what your mother told you, get in touch with "vacation-you," and start talking to strangers.
4. Lean into your work family. For short spurts of time, even crazy Aunt Gertrude is tolerable on vacation. And if you do the math, you likely spend even more time with your co-workers throughout the year. So try to treat them like family. Bob in accounting is quirky and he'll tell you all about his pet rock collection. This could annoy you, but try leaning into it -- afterall, he's family!
5. Take time for yourself every week. Vacation is all about having "me time" -- it's a time to press the reset button. If this practice works so well, why aren't we doing it more often? Take an hour once a week for you. Don't use this hour for your job, your kids, or your biceps (which look great, by the way). Take a weekly vacation for you.
And five-and-a-half: Use all of your vacation days to remember why you take the time off in the first place. Many Americans routinely leave days of vacation on the table every year. These were free, unused days where you could have been sipping mimosas with crazy Aunt Gertrude.
Jack Stahlmann is a writer, corporate speaker and founder of Don't Flinch, LLC