I’m sitting here writing this on a Friday at 11AM, right before I head out for my lunch run. And I’m writing it because it’s a third of the way through the month, but for the first time in I don’t know how long, it’s Friday and my decks are actually cleared. (Not my literal decks, those still have snow.) I’m talking about my to-do list for the week, including almost all of the monthly articles that were due over the course of December. Our podcast is pre-recorded through the holidays, and this is the last post I have to schedule before posts for the month are done too. That means that it’s the 8th of the month and while I still have some articles and work that’s more daily in nature, and I still have a few feature articles and podcasts to finish writing and recording next week, I’m on track to be mostly checked out for the last 14 days of the month.
The funny thing is, I haven’t had less work this month. If anything, I’ve had more getting piled on my plate, plus the holiday gift buying, gift guide creating, dinner hosting, cleaning, packing, et cetera. I should be behind, if anything. Instead, I’m ahead. HOW?
Easy: “Vacation Prep” Energy.
You’ve probably had this happen in your life. No matter how much is on your plate at work, if you know you’re leaving on vacation in a few days, miraculously, your productivity shoots way up. It’s not extra hours, necessarily, though that’s been the case a couple of nights for me. But it’s not about more time, I genuinely think it’s about the sharp increase in focus. You’re suddenly laser-visioned, eyes on the prize. You know how good it will feel to be on vacation with no deadlines to stress over, and your brain somehow speeds up as a result.
I know this won’t be relevant to everyone, but I think most of us can find some efficacy in trying to harness this energy in different times of the year, especially when it comes to getting ready for big training blocks, or even really long efforts on weekends.
While I was definitely excited to get things done this week in preparation for some serious holiday enjoyment starting next weekend, I also have a marathon-distance trail run scheduled for the weekend and want that to go smoothly, without stressing over getting an article finished on Saturday when I get home.
Heading into the new year, this is the kind of energy I want to put out most weeks. It’s not frantic—it’s just focused. In fact, not being frantic is sort of the point.
Essentially, vacation prep energy is the antithesis to procrastination. Need to get that work report done? Have a reason that it needs to be done ahead of Friday at 5PM. The reason can be as simple as wanting to enjoy your long ride on Saturday stress-free. But thinking ahead to that ride, and feeling completely caught up, can be a gamechanger in your energetic approach to that work report. You’re not magically making extra time appear, you’re just giving your brain a good reason to stay entirely laser-focused, to get shit done.
So—how can you harness your vacation prep energy this coming season? I definitely plan to use it as often as possible. I’m hoping to use one week a month as the ‘vacation prep’ week, whether I have an upcoming trip or not, to try to get through the big articles I have due for other outlets that are scheduled in advance as well as podcast recordings, so that the other weeks can be more focused on long-term projects like Strong Girl Publishing (and training). My thought is using my rest week for this uber-focused week so that I have the maximum amount of time and energy to push through. We’ll see how it goes, but if it’s anything like this past week… it’s going to be a gamechanger.