Scott Hanselman

On Disconnecting

August 26, '15 Comments [60] Posted in Musings
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Yes, I'm writing a blog post about disconnecting from technology. No, the irony is not lost on me. ;)

Storm Trooper on Vacation by JD Hancock used under CC

 

Disconnecting can be hard for a number of reasons, in my experience. There's the usual obvious stuff like the fact that we're literally addicted to the serotonin rush of social media's faux urgency, but there's also aspects that aren't talked about as much. Like, will I have a job when I get back?

I know it's silly to say (or at least, I think it's silly to say) but I still think about the day to day stuff at work and wonder "well, if I leave, who will do it?" Now, hang back, this isn't about me, it's about irrational feelings, so bear with the post. I'm certainly not irreplaceable, none of us are, but I think it's common to feel a combination of feelings like:

  • Who will work on Project X without me?

This implies I'm either the only one, or the best suited. Then there's the opposite:

  • What happens if I'm gone so long that they realize they never needed me at all?

Sometimes on vacation I feel both of these things. They are irrational, but that doesn't make them any less real.

The hardest part about going on vacation isn't the disconnecting, for me, it's the realizing that I'm supposed to go on vacation.

What do YOU think about vacation, Dear Reader? Am I alone in my thoughts here?

* Photo "Stormtrooper on Vacation by JD Hancock used under CC


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Wednesday, 26 August 2015 08:27:28 UTC
It takes me a week to get in a vacation-mood and are relaxed enough, to sit down and sit still for more than 5 minutes. I usually go on holiday for 2 weeks where the second week is a "real" holiday. The first week is just adjusting to not being at work. I think less about work in the second week and enjoy the holiday more. It also helps me to travel to a foreign country and speak a different language, but that's easy in Europe. How long did you go on vacation Scott?
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 08:33:03 UTC
I tend to favor places with crappy data connections. It forces you to enjoy the day much better.
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 08:39:13 UTC
Disconnecting is essential. A colleague of mine noted that people in technology need analogue hobbies. I think stoping for a few minutes, or better for a holiday, helps you appreciate the none digital world far more. For me, that is the opportunity to try new things that I can't when I'm technology focussed, kayaking down a river in the middle of no where (no phone reception) for example. 30 years from now I'd look back unhappy if I'd spent too much (how much is too much?) time with my head in a laptop.
Tim Butterfield
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 08:40:54 UTC
Like JP, its usually the second week before I relax. I have 23 days holidays, so I tend to take 2 weeks in the summer, then use around 5 days at Christmas. With the business being closed for New Years and the days around Christmas, that means I get nearly two weeks off then as well. I definitely need those long periods of rest to fully disconnect.
Diarmuid
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 08:53:49 UTC
Am I the only one that enjoys staying connected? It doesn't mean that it has to ruin your holiday but checking stuff on Twitter and staying in touch with the stuff or technology you like is not the end of the world. As long as you don't let it ruin your holiday and you're not glued on your phone, then that should be OK. No coding or answering technical questions though...
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 09:01:14 UTC
Maybe it is less about the disconnecting per se. For me vacation is more an exercise that reminds me of _my_ freedom to walk away and leave things for a while. That is why most start relaxing in week 2, because then they've "given in" to that. I actually don't mind being connected on vacation, I just purposefully turn off my business mail, set IM to offline and kill my calendar notifications. And I tell everyone (through a meaningful oof message) that I auto-archive mails during that time.

Thus, I would extend the aforementioned exercise to the first day you're back. Then you should allow yourself to start fresh instead of rushing through 2 weeks worth of mails in an attempt to roll back your absence...

What do you think?
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 09:01:29 UTC
Sometimes it's hard to have a vacation when you are on call 24/7. Goes with the job I have, even on vacation I find myself thinking of work so I understand the disconnection issues. I have a team of over 30 devs, and we have the worst annual leave balances in our company (perhaps people follow the leader as I am one of the worst there myself). It is a case of irrational thoughts that do tend to stop me from disconnecting, similar to what you mention, though it's not so much will I be replaced but more I have a need to ensure my team is capable of fixing stuff should it go bad so I'm there for support. A weakness of mine, but it's got us to where we are. We also have a policy from the top in terms of duration of a break, so when you only take a week by the time you're back in the office you haven't disconnected at all.

We also have this theory that we can have a break after the next big release. In reality what happens is that you get through that release period, only to find a new big release that has to be done yesterday so you soldier on in that respect. In the 2015 calendar year I've had 4 annual leave days so far, and with what we need to do I can't see any more until November. After we get through October (we run the World Education Games, this year on Azure!) I am determined to have a break, completely disconnect. I say it every year...
Mitch Nicholls
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 09:07:44 UTC
On the rare occasion I do take a two week holiday the second week is when I can finally relax and enjoy the holiday without thinking about work. The quickest way for me to stop thinking about work is to go out cycling, its very therapeutic. In the summer for holidays I'll generally either go somewhere fairly close to home for a long weekend or take a week off and go cycling in the French/Italian Alps.
Terry
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 09:09:16 UTC
Well, taking some vacations has to be "learned" too.

This may sound stupid, but I have made the experience that it is good to prepare consciously for holidays, both for yourself, your family/friends, and your coworkers.

And also: put trust in the others that they can accomplish stuff! Yeah, maybe someone else has twice as long as you, or produces that "not-so-elegant" solution, but hey they have brains too.

And last but not least: trust yourself, that you are appreciated not only for the know-how, or the proficiency, but also as a person.

I just had a 6 weeks holiday. I know what I am talking about :)
KoW
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 09:32:50 UTC
How do you know if you successful disconnected from technology during a vacation? When you come back and you forgot your passwords ;-)

When it comes to disconnecting, the best vacations I have been on were a few days on a tall ship. I do that fairly regularly, at least once every two years for over 10 years now. What makes tall ship sailing so great to disconnect from daily life? There are several reasons:
* There is no internet when you are out at sea, except for a sattelite connection which the crew is not allowed to use freely.
* Tall ship sailing is labor. You get exhausted, so you sleep well, and you have little time to worry about work and daily life.
* At least on the ship I sail on, you work in two shifts per day: 4 hours shift, 8 hours free time you use to sleep, eat and just enjoy life at sea. Shifts can be 0-4 (midnight and midday), 4-8 (early morning and afternoon) and 8-12 (late morning and evening).

With the shifts and the completely different daily routine it sometimes takes about 72 hours and you don't even know anymore the day of the week.
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 09:44:54 UTC
Sometimes the little breaks are important. My wife and have a tradition of going out to breakfast after the kids are delivered for the first day of school, a sort of celebration if you will. (I normally take 1/2 day in the morning). This year it was at a bad time in the dev cycle of a major project and I found myself trying to get out of our tradition because of a work requirement. I ended up honoring the tradition with my wife because she needed to know that I value her over my job. (I've been working nights and weekends for a long while so I can deliver on "time").
James
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 09:47:31 UTC
Disconnecting is one of the reasons I started touring on my motorcycle for vacation, somewhere between 4 and 10 days. You just can't read emails while riding (and you actually don't want to). I'm usually almost immediately in vacation mode, probably because just about everything is different from my usual routine. Other stuff like diving would probably work too, just as long it's vastly different from what you do at work and keeps you occupied.

Before free wireless conquered the world just leaving your country was another great way to disconnect. Now you get free wireless at every coffee shop and in lots of hotels, which is technically fine, but doesn't really help you disconnecting.
Dirk Trilsbeek
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 10:21:36 UTC
I just took two days off, logged in (OK, briefly) from home both mornings and was still relieved when my pass admitted me to the building today...

Impostor syndrome alive and well over here, even after ten years in this job.
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 10:28:09 UTC
I like to go on vacation in places without any mobile service so I'm disconnected from internet. While I still have my phone with me, it's just to take pictures.
Daniel
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 10:53:56 UTC
A vacation for me is when I get to spend time 24/7 with my wife and kids.
Thought and preparation is given to setting things up where there will be no distractions from that primary goal.
My Dad was a union man, and tried to get it into our heads from an early age that you work to live, not live to work. It took several death-march jobs for me to understand what he meant (I can be stubborn).
I love my job, the work is stimulating, my employer is fantastic.
I can walk away from it at a moments notice, my job does not define who I am.

Before I had my own family, holidays were times to spend with friends and family, preferably somewhere remote and amazing and as far from my everyday life as possible.

When I'm away I disconnect from work completely, I may touch base with friends and family, which may happen over social media, and then only when it complements the primary goal.

I have zero problems disconnecting :)
Mark
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 11:46:43 UTC
I currently am going through a slightly extended version of this in that I am on a year long secondment but still sitting near my normal team
Mark Adamson
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 12:09:01 UTC
Your two thoughts aren't necessarily opposing. If you aren't convinced that others agree with the importance of Project X or your role on Project X, then you have the dual problem that nobody is going to take up your role when you're not there, nor will they be bothered that it isn't being done (until years later when technical debt or whatever catches up).

Still paranoid, but not necessarily contradictory.
Mark Adamson
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 12:13:26 UTC
When I'm on vacation, the last thing I worry about is my job. My thoughts are mainly on whether I can maintain the "vacation mindset" of little worry and no stress all year long. I also think alot about the best to achieve financial independence so I can stop someone else from spending my life.
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 12:25:43 UTC
On our team there's always enough overlap that someone can cover something I was doing, at least well enough to keep it alive while I'm gone. That doesn't mean we have redundancy on the team. In fact, that coverage is deliberately built into the team.

Vacation, recharging, disconnecting etc. are all parts of your job; staying functional, productive and sane are just responsibilities you have to the team. So your concerns about whether they'll realize they don't need you should not factor into it (of course you might work for a company that doesn't understand this 😱).

Or think of it as resilience in the team to someone getting sick for a few days.
Nixta
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 12:40:38 UTC
One thing I've learned: There is always more work to do, more code to write and more things to learn. I think it's important to find a way to disconnect more often and be more asynchronous.
Renato Saito
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 12:49:09 UTC
My grandfather had a pretty important work job. To relax, he'd go fishing in the fall for two weeks in the wilderness in Canada.

His staff would fret and ask what they'd do when he couldn't be reached. He'd say "What would you do if I were dead? Do that."

In 2011 I spent 5 weeks in Patagonia in the mountains in a tent. Didn't even take anything electronic except an mp3 player. Best time EVER.

I think about going back every single day.

Disconnecting really isn't an option.
bill
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 13:03:03 UTC
Vacation time remind us we are just another replaceable person and the universe will not stop if we leave , a lot of "hardworking" people fall in the trap of thinking they are not replaceable .

From personal perspective , your vacation does not have to be a resort , it can be just your home , if you need rest or it could be good time for some spiritual retreating
Sam
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 13:46:49 UTC
Well, I'm one man in my company...so I KNOW nothing will be done while I'm on vacation, I KNOW zero income will be generated to pay salary next month and I KNOW my projects will be exactly where I left them, when I get back.

So I hate vacation? No, I really enjoy it, but I keep it to a minimum both for the obvious reasons above, but also because I really like my job! :)

When that said, I feel with you, in another and more technical way.

I always have hobby projects which I work on at night, the last 1-2 years it has been a game in Unity3d - not related at all to my day job.
Here I sometimes can have the feeling of, "ASP.NET/WPF/What-ever has got all these new things, while I was "off" doing other stuff...Can I still build things in it, am I out dated now?"

I have tried that a few times now, and so far the reality is, that yes, I miss some of the things, but when I start working on "what-ever-I-have-been-await-from" again, very, I mean very, quickly I'm up to speed and on board again.

I still do hobby project, both because I can't help my self, but also because I feel/think/hope I get something else out of doing these projects that are usually not work released at all.

- My thoughts :)

//Mads
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 13:55:16 UTC
Scott,

I am so glad I'm not the only one who things these things when "trying to get away from it all."

George
George
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 13:58:05 UTC
"What am I going to be blamed about in my absence" - I used to have this feeling a lot at other jobs earlier in my career, but now I've got 15 years experience under my belt its a lot easier to stop thinking that my current job is something I have to hold onto at all cost...
Richard Price
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 14:19:42 UTC
Hi Scott,

Yes, I recognize these feelings. Don't feel embarrassed about it. I read about the same feeling in the post of one of my online buddies as well. She was a bit reluctant to go online again. And I recognize that too. I went offline (not completely, but most of the time) for about three weeks, and it felt good. My phone is on flight mode 75% of the day, lately. The Headspace app (https://www.headspace.com/) gives me the necessary quality relax time. My cat likes the relaxed version of me, too. :-) using the app helps me cope with that feeling of anxious thoughts (like the ones you mentioned).

Best to you, here's to quality time!
@Jojanneke
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 14:30:39 UTC
I'm a little older than a lot of the people I work with. I lived the days before WiFI and cell phones. If you took a vacation you were quite simply unavailable during that time and the office got along without you just fine.

I still maintain that philosophy. I take a cell phone on vacation mainly because most of my vacations are motorcycle trips and sometimes stuff goes wrong and you need to call for help. I absolutely do not leave my cell number with the office, they can get along without me for a few days. If they can't, well there's a problem with the office, not with me.
Craig
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 14:42:58 UTC
This is why I love going on cruises. Here in Orlando, we can get on a 3-night itinerary to the Bahamas on the Disney Cruise Line without flying anywhere. I get on, I turn off the phone, and it doesn't come on until we return Monday morning. It's fantastic.

What's a little disturbing is all of the people trying to use the awful satellite-based Wi-Fi. Seriously, you're on an amazing ship, with your family, in blue water. Pay attention! The Internet can wait.
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 15:09:44 UTC
I still remember returning from my first official vacation -- where they keeping paying you even though you're not working. I was gone two weeks. Everyone seemed to think I'd taken a long weekend. I thought "I've got to take more of these!"

I recognize that some people have a hard time taking time off for the reasons Scott mentions. "Will I have a job when I get back?" "Will the world come to an end because no one's working on my stuff?" Fortunately, I do not have that gene.
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 15:43:18 UTC
Hi Scott

Do this.

Move to Europe. You'll get 4 - 6 weeks paid vacation per year. Practice makes perfect buddy - just keep taking weeks off - you'll get the hang of it ;-)

The good news is in many places like the UK, it is also a legal requirement that you take this time off. Your employer will be in trouble if you don't take it.

I hear in France they were even considering making it illegal for employers to pester their employees during "family" time, meaning they wouldn't be allowed to even email you on holiday on pain of legal sanction. I think that's a step too far, but then I look at workers rights in America and I think - well maybe...

S
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 16:28:15 UTC
Two weeks vacation in the summer, two weeks vacation and Christmas and the odd long weekend scattered about. During this time I completely disconnect from all work related activities. I am off the grid, completely. Otherwise it's not really a vacation in my mind.

I am in Europe though, and there seems to be a real difference in work culture between Europe and the US.

Did you know that the USA is the only country in the western world where there is no law mandating a minimum number of vacation days an employer must offer an employee per-year? For comparison the legal minimum in the UK is 20, while in France it is 25. This doesn't even include the public holidays in each country.
Andrew
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 16:54:39 UTC
Just came back to work this week after six week vacation of which five weeks were official vacation and one was just me compensating my overtime hours. Luckily here in Finland we get 30 days vacation each year.

I've learned that six weeks is just enough, first week to get to vacation mood and last week for adjusting to thought that vacation is over. That leaves four weeks for proper vacationing.

But no matter how long my vacation is, there's always the fear that someone might go and touch my code while I'm away :)
Janne Rantala
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 19:44:40 UTC
I think folks underrate how critical taking vacation is.

I find I am typically much more productive upon my return, my creative juices are recharged, etc.

My best disconnecting ones are boat based as other posters have mentioned.

We do a week on Lake Roosevelt on a Houseboat where there is no connectivity for the last 10 years or so. This one is great as it is extended family, etc.

The last three years we have done 3-5 weeks sailing from florida to the bahamas and back. The only connectivity there is every 3-5 days when you hit a marina with Wifi. Highly recomended.

The ability to disconnect, recharge and relax has become important enough to me vacation policy has become a crucial deal breaker for me in the past at various jobs. I work long and hard while in the office and feel I have above average productivity. As such I also believe me taking a longer vacation to recharge and come back super productive is a benefit to not only me but also any company I am working for.
Chris Kinsman
Wednesday, 26 August 2015 20:04:29 UTC
What is more difficult, for me at least, is the "reconnection". I am sitting here reading and replying to your post after a 3 week holiday and am struggling to get back in to my projects. When I left, there was a flurry of activity making sure there were no loose ends.

Now that I am back, it takes several days to get back in to projects (no trouble "fire-fighting" though). I think there is a fear of launching in to a development project and taking the wrong approach. I mostly work alone which also may have something to do with my slow start.

Anyway, I am off to read some more blogs.
Trevor Masters
Thursday, 27 August 2015 01:38:36 UTC
Vacation? What is that? Must be at least 10 years since I had one. I usually get over it after a couple of days in the sun.
Paul
Thursday, 27 August 2015 04:29:05 UTC
My favourite places are in the world, are all just past the point where I can no longer get a phone signal.
Thursday, 27 August 2015 04:37:57 UTC
I have learned that connecting to work while on vacation communicates to your team that you do not have the confidence and faith in them to carry on with the project. And similarly, trusting that things will be handled in your absence is empowering to your team.
Terri Morton
Thursday, 27 August 2015 07:31:50 UTC
But... Remembering one of your tweet, are you on vacation like an american or like an european ?
Amnesia
Thursday, 27 August 2015 08:44:19 UTC
I don't have breaks often myself - but when I do, I work till the last minute, then pack, and forget about work immediately. I usually do the same on a daily basis when I'm done for the day, but not everyone can switch off like that. Though sometimes particularly difficult or interesting problems keep my mind racing.

I'm a contractor, so my mindset is a bit different. It can sometimes be a little difficult to get work, but my skillset is usually in demand, and even if current clientco don't want me when I get back from a holiday, someone else will. I do try to plan holidays between contracts / renewals, though it doesn't always work out that way.

I think there's a lot of false security held by most people in their work; good developers are hard to come by, and those that are highly skilled are quite often a little too modest, or reliant on these false securities. In the development world, the grass is usually greener, and the vast majority of the time my next gig is more interesting and / or challenging than the last. I worry that people might not follow guidelines and best practices I've put in place (I am quite often the gatekeeper / technical lead), but at the end of the day, that's got more to do with my superiority complex than anyone else :P
Thursday, 27 August 2015 12:38:05 UTC
The hardest thing always seems to be disconnecting. For me, camping is the penultimate way of getting out of my developer headspace. There's something about throwing together the tent, starting a nighttime fire, and hiking that just shock me out of the worry and stress of the day to day developer activities. A weekend trip to a campground relieves more stress for me then a 2 week vacation in a foreign country!

However I still get flustered when I come back from a 3 day camping trip and people have dared to work on my project. "How could they know all those things I know to worry about if they only just started looking at it!" I know that's foolish, but you can't help but feel a little (self-)righteous indignation.
Thursday, 27 August 2015 13:27:30 UTC
A few years ago I started turning off my phone during vacation and not taking my laptop with me. That was the point I learned that vacations are great IF you disconnect from technology.

I've had the same thoughts: "How are they going to finish things without me?" but as soon as I started disconnected that thought was gone and I could finally focus on my vacation.
Thursday, 27 August 2015 16:06:53 UTC
The only vacation where I truly feel like I succeed on "getting away from it all" is when I go camping and completely disconnect from all technology. It's amazing how much better I sleep after a week of being in the outdoors with no LCD screens or alarm clocks.
Jake
Thursday, 27 August 2015 16:56:38 UTC
This year we took a two thousand mile drive. It was the sort of drive where the only distractions we could find as we traveled were small AM/FM stations from wee towns where they read out ads like, "Miss Ethyl Grant has a floral print couch for sale. She'd like $75 dollars for it. Call the station for details".

Yeah, that still lives on in America. My youngest, who was born in 2000, nearly damaged herself rolling her eyes. We traveled in "no bars" areas and stayed in hotels with 300 baud equivalent WiFi. I enjoyed being out of touch. I warned everyone ahead of time that the odds of me answering an email were slim.

I was born in 1953 and spent my Summers on my grandmother's farm, complete with outhouse, in the hills of West Virginia. It wasn't quite like that, but close enough to remind me to remember it.
Glenn
Thursday, 27 August 2015 23:25:23 UTC
Vacations slow my mind and help me refocus. I've had some of my most experimental ideas and solutions on the beach drinking sandy beer watching my kid play. When I'm instructed to think my ideas often come out naïve. I think my rested mind sees more paths through a problem.
Derek Seibert
Friday, 28 August 2015 11:51:09 UTC
Beginning of holiday: Flight Mode = ON
End of holiday: Flight Mode = OFF
Guy
Friday, 28 August 2015 12:50:49 UTC
I was self employed for 10 years and found it very difficult to take time off at all. If I wasn't working, I wasn't getting paid. I've been employed with a company now for 4 years and still find it hard to relax during my time off. I find myself getting anxious because I'm not working with my mind thinking I'm not getting paid......it's hard to get back to realizing I can relax.
Friday, 28 August 2015 14:43:46 UTC
You know you had a good vacation when you go through these phases: 1) You can't help but think about work 2) You start worrying less about work 3) You forget about work (completely) 4) You relax / have fun 5) You can't wait to get back to work.
Peter
Friday, 28 August 2015 17:41:21 UTC
I generally get to my vacation destination and drink until I'm not thinking about work anymore.
John Dunagan
Friday, 28 August 2015 19:10:59 UTC
Step 1: Remove your SIM card from your smart phone of choice.

Step 2: Put the SIM card in a flip phone with no data connectivity.

Step 3: Enjoy the vacation with the knowledge that you can still be reached via phone in the event of a real emergency.
Richard West
Sunday, 30 August 2015 01:07:19 UTC
However disconnected you should be on your vacation depends on how connected you are. Being disconnected is a good idea if you feel too connected on a daily basis. Personally I try to disconnect myself occasionally just realise how much I need to stay connected. Going abroad or to a place without decent internet connection can be a really mind freeing experience. What it really comes down to I guess is that when you're on vacation you should do the things that make you happy. Do whatever you think is the main priority for you at the moment.
Matti Petrelius
Sunday, 30 August 2015 10:17:54 UTC
I've heard so many times, from so many sources, that vacations are important, that there must be something to it. However, I am not stressed by what I do for a living (code) and I have fun with what I do for a living, and I can do things with the same skills that scratch a creative itch, and my skin and the sun don't get along at all (I don't have some condition I'm just of Scandinavian ancestry) and I take plenty of Vitamin D to minimize the downside to keeping a roof over my head as much as possible, and I walk at night so I'm not physically unfit and I DON'T WANT TO STOP HAVING FUN AND BEING CREATIVE, also, I'm not a huge fan of social interaction and I get plenty of it every single day even though I'm not a fan, and I don't have anything remotely like a wanderlust or a fascination in different surroundings. SO. THERE. I'M NOT BUDGING. NO ONE CAN MAKE ME AND I'LL OUTLIVE ALL OF YOU. Ok, maybe not that one. Some people are decades younger than me, which isn't fair.
Eric Tor
Monday, 31 August 2015 13:30:26 UTC
I work...ergo I vacation. A little play on Descartes. There is an art to enjoying time away from work, but if you see your work as art, why step away? Personally, I see no reason why we should obsess over either work or play, but instead, we need to find a balance between the two.

I think Tony Schwartz is brilliant on this subject:
http://theenergyproject.com/blog/struggling-to-disconnect-from-our-digital-lives

Then there's Nigel Marsh:
http://www.ted.com/talks/nigel_marsh_how_to_make_work_life_balance_work?language=en

And of course, TED has lots more to say on the subject:
https://www.ted.com/playlists/60/work_smarter

Bottom line for me...I won't be going to my death bed worrying about whether I put enough hours in to keep my job. Hopefully I'll be smiling at all the great experiences I had on the journey.
Dizzyguy
Monday, 31 August 2015 22:16:22 UTC
If you can't leave your job for 5 minutes for fear of projects falling apart in your absence, your boss is a failure.

If that's the case, the responsibility will fall to you to ensure that other people are aware of your projects and have the flexibility to handle them.
Tuesday, 01 September 2015 05:28:51 UTC
As long as I'm not vacationing alone, disconnecting is easy. I don't like to check my phone too much when I'm with people out of respect. I've done 4-6 week detoxes before when I wasn't on vacation so having something like new surroundings and activities to do would make it that much easier.
Tuesday, 01 September 2015 05:51:18 UTC
It took me a few years but I am now completely disconnected from work. 😊
Tuesday, 01 September 2015 07:13:00 UTC
I'm glad I don't have a job where I have to worry about either a project falling apart, or somehow losing my job because I take a 2 week vacation, those sound like terrible places to work.

Vacation time is for me and my family to rest/play/experience/enjoy. I love my job, but it does not define me, and thankfully, it does not control me.

Maybe you think taking a little call, or reply to some emails, no harm done right? What would really have happened if you hadn't done that?? They would have figured it out without you. You are replaceable.

I've even heard horror stories of people being told to cancel vacation because something at work came up. That's no way to live.
Jim
Tuesday, 01 September 2015 12:52:09 UTC
Everyone I work with: "I'll be out of the office next week, but am available by email, text, and cell."

Especially when leadership does it, it sends the message that this is an expectation. Good thing I stuck at following examples!

I personally prefer micro-vacations: half a day here and there throughout the year, rather than a couple larger blocks. Could be partly to do with my relatively low-stress job.
Wednesday, 02 September 2015 21:54:20 UTC
I've been called once outside of work, and stayed late to finish stuff less than 10 times. Perhaps it's my young age, or the fields I've worked in: I've worked on projects for avionics testing, industrial machine control/UX, and e-commerce/internal web development, but almost always in teams where my contributions frequently don't require me to be called in after hours or stay late. I'm nobody's senior.

However, I always try to ensure that my work can speak for itself, taking the time to test things as thoroughly as possible, keep my project information publicly accessible, and never deploying on a Friday. I am eminently obsolete by my own design (mostly because I'd rather be somewhere else or working on something cooler.)

As such, I don't really worry about ever getting calls from my work. I wonder; is this a bad thing?
Monday, 07 September 2015 05:24:07 UTC
I love taking vacation, the longer the better. However, it is true that most people feel guilty by disconnecting when on vacation and just by taking time off. Don't feel guilty, if your co-workers or managers DO stay connected while on vacation, it is their choice. And if the company you work for makes you feel uncomfortable because you take vacation AND do disconnect, then it's time to find another job.
Friday, 11 September 2015 13:58:16 UTC
Scott, the community will never let you be missed. Thank you for everything you designed, developed, and evangelized for us. #happydevelopers -> #businessvalue :))
Jacob Sherman
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.