This summer I decided to stop working and give myself a mid-life (I just turned 39) summer vacation. After working hard over the last many years starting Envy Labs then Code School, it was definitely time for a reset. So I decided to take three months off and force myself not to work.

In case you’re not aware, I left Code School at the start of the summer. I gave 6 months notice and spent those 6 months learning about succession planning. Ashley Smith and Thomas Meeks are now leading the way at Code School, and I feel confident that great things will continue to happen there under their leadership.

Canoe on Lake LouiseHere’s what I did this summer, and links to the videos I created for them if you’re curious:

  • Took an amazing trip with Laura through Italy, Amsterdam, and Iceland.
  • Took a 1 on 1 trip with my son to Washington DC.
  • Took a 1 on 1 trip with my daughter to Chicago.
  • Took a family trip to Vancouver BC + Alaska Disney Cruise.
  • Helped out a little with Starter Studio, the tech accelerator I founded.
  • Took a trip with Ryan, my best friend from high school to the Canadian Rocky Mountains (Banff)
  • Spent at least 5 days a week working out.
  • Continued to have lunches with people I enjoy.
  • Tried to relax.

What has been surprising:

  • It took a good 3 weeks to fully relax. This makes me think that most Americans don’t take enough time off. We take a week here in there, but it really takes at least 3 weeks to fully reset.
  • I thought I’d be spending more time gaming. I have a great gaming rig, and an xbox one, yet I’m not playing with it nearly as much as I thought I would.
  • By the time I lazily get up out of bed, work out, eat, and shower it’s practically 11:00 and it’s almost time to have that lunch meeting.
  • Between housekeeping and financial tasks often a day can go by easily.
  • I really enjoy trip planning. Tripadvisor seems to be the best place to do travel research. I wonder what else people use.
  • After spending 3 months not working, I was definitely relaxed. But, I was still left with feeling a little unsatisfied. I think it has to do with flow. I need to be doing things that get me back into flow.


What I want to be more mindful of as I get back to work:

  • Set aside time for play. I get a great deal of my self worth from my accomplishments, sometimes I let this drive overrule my natural craving to play.
  • Better to do something imperfectly then to do nothing flawlessly. Sometimes I give up on a goal because I don’t think I can do it “good enough”. I want to be okay with executing on something that might not be perfect.
  • Be more kind to myself. There are goals I’m not going to hit. It’s going to be the end of the day and there’s going to be stuff left to do. I want to feel good about what I was able to accomplish, know that I did my best, and not be hard on myself.
  • Spend more time planning. I don’t think I ever learned to do enough planning. Meaning setting aside time at the beginning of the week to really think through what I can accomplish and when I want to accomplish it by. Setting out milestones.
  • Set aside 3 weeks every year to vacation. Heh, I’m not sure this will happen for a while, but I might as well aim for the target.

Anything you want to be more mindful of as you get back to work? Let me know in the comments.