Getting Enough Done to Go on Vacation

What personal actions and energies do you choose before, during and after your vacation? Do you feel you've lost (or maybe never had) the ability to check out and truly recharge yourself? Today's conversation revolves around our core beliefs, work ethic, and the emotions we go through so we can vacation.

April 6, 2021
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Melissa Albers  0:00  
Hey everyone, you are listening to the self awareness journey podcast. This little banter is about a car ride long in features your hosts, JJ Parker, and Melissa Albers. JJ owns a tech company. And Melissa has been a coach working with influencers for the last 18 years.

JJ Parker  0:18  
Alright, Melissa, we got to make this pod fast because I'm going on vacation tomorrow. And I got like a million things to do. So no messing around. No wandering around. No wonder. Right? I have one workday to get like five work days worth of stuff done before you go out of town for a week.

Melissa Albers  0:37  
Funny, you should mention this. I was thinking we should talk about vacation.

JJ Parker  0:46  
Yeah. So many of us feel so much pressure when it's like, we're gonna go on vacation. But are, you know, like, the stream of work just doesn't seem to have a break in it. And like, there's anxiety before heading off to vacation. There's anxiety while on vacation. Yeah. And then there's just like a pile of work to deal with when you get back. And it makes you wonder, like, why did I even do this whole thing in the first place?

Melissa Albers  1:20  
I just wanted to call out for a minute. Your your you seem a little angry about this? And I wonder if it's because you're trying to leave tomorrow morning and you are in the fall out smacked down rows of trying to leave?

JJ Parker  1:35  
Yeah, so like this pod? This podcast could be four minutes long. Actually, you know what I was thinking about it. I will calm down. I'll work on calming down here. But they will focus because I think that there's a lot to explore. I totally agree. Yeah. And so many people experience it. But my one of my favorite things that all apply to this moment is about meditation. And it's that old mantra that says, like, if you don't have 20 minutes to meditate, you need to meditate for an hour.

Unknown Speaker  2:09  
Oh, yeah,

JJ Parker  2:10  
I forgot about kind of like that same thing like that. If I feel so anxious that I try to crack all this stuff out. I actually need to slow down. And so I've tried to speed up.

Melissa Albers  2:21  
Yeah, I why. And I think right now is this is such a great topic. Because not only are you trying to get on vacation, there's a whole bunch of people that are trying to be on spring break with their families. And in addition to the normal stresses. We've also got the stresses of traveling during the Coronavirus. People feeling a little amped up even over that as well. So yeah, I think there's a whole bunch of stuff to talk about. Let's let's talk about the before piece first, because that's where you were kind of started. That's where that's where we are. I know it's just you, but I feel like it's we

JJ Parker  2:55  
dragging you into my Cyclone.

Melissa Albers  3:00  
No, but I think that's a thing. I remember when I was in sales, and we and whenever we would try and go on a vacation. I literally remember being up all night doing proposals before we would leave or trying to get all of my stuff done so that I could be gone. I remember being up until three o'clock in the morning, four o'clock in the morning. And that's thinking about that now It's nuts. But I was You're right. You know, I just didn't really know better. But the stress and anxiety is so overwhelming.

JJ Parker  3:29  
Yeah, like what what are we doing in our work life that causes us to think like, I mean, like, this is literally what I was thinking. This week, I have to get an extra week of work in because I'm taking next week off. That doesn't even make any sense, right? Like all I have to do in order to get myself a week off is to work 80 hours this week.

Melissa Albers  3:57  
That's not unusual for so many of us to think like,

JJ Parker  4:00  
right, it's like it's become like the American business default. Thinking and and when you step back, it doesn't really make any sense. Like what's the point of vacation if you have to kill yourself to get on vacation?

Melissa Albers  4:13  
Right, right. You know, one of my best friends lives in the UK. And they have a very different attitude about vacations. They really do check out when they check out and they think a week is ridiculous. Like when she gets enough time. Yeah, it's not enough time. She's a business owner, and she's very successful. She's very driven. And when it's vacation time is for two weeks or three weeks. Never one week that's not enough. And it is like I am checking out and she has no problem doing that. And I've always reflected on how guilty I feel trying to be gone. I feel guilty about it.

JJ Parker  4:48  
So why is that? Like why do we feel guilty I'm thinking about why I'm going to feel guilty. But it's something like like Is it around? Like, I have a team, I want to make sure that the team has everything they need while I'm gone. Doesn't feel like I should be that important to the organization. things don't happen. And which is not true. Like, yeah, like, some of the most productive times, I think, for our organization is when I'm gone. Well,

Melissa Albers  5:24  
that ironically, oh, you're no, but i think i think you know what, for me, it's, I think it's us wanting to prove our worth, it's us trying to show a good example, I feel like we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to have this work ethic that looks, you know, stronger than other people's or so as bad as good as other people.

JJ Parker  5:49  
It's like a work ethic thing. Maybe.

Melissa Albers  5:51  
I think there's some work ethic issue in there for sure. And some, just some guilt of how you compare yourself to your work again, you know, yeah, worth being tied directly to your work. And so you better Yeah, I think it's, I think it's a bunch of those different things. as some people, some people don't have problems going on vacation.

JJ Parker  6:13  
But so those people, I can just turn this off right now.

Melissa Albers  6:17  
But you know, what, sometimes I think it's situational. Like, for example, if you hate your job, or you're in a place in your life, where you're so tapped out, you don't want to be home, then that's a different story. But I think you're in your normal life in your normal flow. Triangle, get out of a cage and get ready for vacation. There's so many emotions around it that we tried to pretend don't exist.

JJ Parker  6:37  
Yeah. And why so there's the work. There's the work quotient of it. Uh huh. Right, just trying to make sure. Like, you know, like you say, like, Oh, these proposals that I promised for next week are done this week. So no one's waiting on me. I get all this stuff done. And everything's nice and prepared and organized. For me to be gone. And everyone has what they need. Then there's the home part. And if you've got kids, especially, then you've got like, I have to go make sure that we found all of the 8000 things we need to bring. For us in the kids.

Melissa Albers  7:18  
There is a lot of work to get out of vacation for that. I forgot. That's it. And by the way, when you travel with kids, it's really not a vacation. It's a trip.

JJ Parker  7:26  
Yeah. more work than a work trip. So I go, it's like the next level up. Well, yeah, and we're gonna go, we're gonna go skiing, which means I have to like, also find and expertly pack very tightly, all of this ski equipment and make sure no one forgot their gloves or their favorite hat or this, this thing or that thing?

Melissa Albers  7:57  
Well, you are an expert Packer I have. Okay, but right, so there's an added level of stress and workload, just to get out of town. Like at home on the homefront. Especially if you're traveling with your family.

JJ Parker  8:11  
Yep. Yep. And then depending on I, I'd say, like, how, how you how you travel? Yeah, there's, there's a bit of like, you know, some people have anxiety, you know, like flying, or airports or crowds or, or driving or, you know, just the act, the act of travel. are they thinking about the travel part? Yeah. can cause stress before you're going on vacation? Absolutely. Like my wife and I have different opinions about how early we should show up to the airport.

Melissa Albers  8:54  
Oh, no, no, no. Are you gonna tell me like this slide in right while the door shuts?

JJ Parker  9:01  
Oh, heck yeah. Like, like, my goal is last person on the plane. Like, why? Why would I do anything but be the very last person on the plane? Shut the door behind me. Let's go.

Melissa Albers  9:09  
There's so many reasons. So many reasons. With amber on this one. You've got three kids. Let's spread kids. It'll be

JJ Parker  9:24  
relaxing. It's like a home alone situation. Right? We're running through the airport. What's life without a little drama? Okay, so I'm definitely not winning on that. But in any case, that I mean, right, that whole idea that like, Hey, we got to get get somewhere and yeah, get through security. Just that all of that travel stuff can add and not while you're doing it. It just like starts. days weeks ahead of your vacation. Right? Yeah. So we've talked about how Like family holidays, the anxiety of that starts early? Well, in a lot of cases, the anxiety of some of those more stressful parts of being on vacation start really early. Oh, I

Melissa Albers  10:13  
totally agree with you. Yeah, that's really actually I, you know, now that we're talking this through, I'm thinking about all these parts and pieces, and, and I've experienced every single one of those and will again, right, it's like, and just how much we take some of those feelings. And we sort of compartmentalize them, or we make ourselves feel wrong, that we're having them, you know, like, what, I have no right to feel these things, because I am going on a beautiful vacation. And I think it creates kind of like a little bit of a imbalance because we try to ignore that we feel sort of stressed. For the sake of looking good, trying to sound optimistic sound like it's gonna be super fun, which it is going to be really fun. But just all those feelings inside are really can be very conflicting sometimes,

JJ Parker  10:59  
or the anxiety of like, will it be fun, like, like, Hey, we're gonna go to this beautiful space, and we're gonna spend a bunch of money and we're gonna try to like, have some forced fun. And if it is not fun, right, like, what is not fun? What if everyone hates this? What if, you know, what if? What if, what if? Yeah. And a lot of times, our vacations, they, you know, they are things like, like, they're kind of special, big things that we like, we look forward to. Right. Right. And we when we plan and we pick, you know, we pick this place, or that place that we pick this Airbnb, and we got all these activities, we put all of this expectation. Yeah. around it. Yes. And that really builds up.

Melissa Albers  11:46  
Right? That's exactly right. So there's a lot of emotion going in to vacation. So how about during your vacation? Right?

JJ Parker  11:55  
When does that start? Does that start? Like just as I slid onto the plane at the last second or after we land?

Melissa Albers  12:02  
How about when does it start for you? That's actually a good question.

JJ Parker  12:06  
That's I don't know. I'm everything. I got to think about that.

Melissa Albers  12:08  
Because I'm like it like I had a cross I hit head over to the UK frequently, right? So when I when I'm doing that, I never think about the vacation at all when I'm getting planned for it. When I'm driving to the airport, I'm still not thinking about being on vacation. It is not until the plane doors close that I all of a sudden go Okay, no I can I got a little ways to wait here is going to be you know, 23 hours door to door. But once I'm at her door I'm already on. There's no turning back. Now I'm now I'm officially on vacation.

JJ Parker  12:40  
Got it. Like you've got a commitment point. Right. I do your shot. Gone. No charge back.

Melissa Albers  12:47  
But not until then. Like I'm just in figured out mode. Get it done. Get the packing done. Don't lose the passport. like where is everything?

JJ Parker  12:56  
Yeah, I think I think I started a little earlier, I think I might be on vacation. Like as soon as my suitcase is packed, and just waiting to go like that really mean like if like we're flying out in the morning, or driving out somewhere in the morning. I think it probably starts after I've like zip my suitcase, I'm like, put it put it downstairs, ready to go.

Melissa Albers  13:22  
That's awesome. And if we're doing a road trip, we don't think about it like vacation until the truck is pulling down the driveway. That's when we and and Mitch and I have this funny thing that we've done since we dated and that is like a fist bump, like wicked. And you know, once you get kids and the dogs and the staff and the everybody's hollering and I forgot this and running back into the house 10 times to go to the bathroom and all these things, you know, my mood settles into what can only be described as dark. And I will just be in the passenger side like oh, and then we get in the truck, the truck starts to go down the driveway. And without looking at each other. Both of our hands go to the middle of console, this bump and that means it's time to shift we're going

JJ Parker  14:07  
Yeah, awesome.

Melissa Albers  14:11  
But once you're on vacation, like how do you manage work when you're on vacation?

JJ Parker  14:18  
or early? Do you? Well yeah, so here's the problem. Well, here's the problem is that in our super connected world, I mean even you know what used to be sanctuary for me was the plane ride because there wasn't any internet on it. Well turns out there's internet on it now. Right? So sanctuary turned into like, Power Hour where I can just like super focus on emails and and that and that sort of stuff and and the problem I have with work and being on vacation Is that, I know that I know when I come back, my workload is gonna be extra high, right? It was extra high before I left is gonna be extra high the week I get back. And so the way I can actually actually help that is to keep up on some things during my vacation,

Melissa Albers  15:24  
that's the story, you're telling yourself, I am going to make the difference. I'm going to make that differentiator because that may or may not be true, but that's our current model. That's what I mean.

JJ Parker  15:37  
Yeah, and I'm a super hypocrite about it, too, because I, my employer, all my employees, like, like, there's one in particular, her name is Brooke. And she is just a rock star. And she absolutely deserves the best, most disconnected vacation possible, because she is like, I'm sure everyone has these people in their organizations just like, she is such a hub of coordination and communication. And she's like, on all day, and it's absolutely amazing. And I just want for her to be like, you know, what, see on. But she's always on her email, I'm on vacation. And I remember a few years ago talking to her about it. And I was like, Brooke, I just wish you could could disconnect. And she said, JJ, the problem is, is that will cause me so much more anxiety than if I just sit and, and and keep up on this stuff for like, an hour a day. Yeah. She's like, I will not enjoy my vacation unless I can kind of stay in the loop here. Yeah. And at first, I was like, ah, gosh, I hate that, that we have you in a position where you feel like that. But then I go do the same thing. So

Melissa Albers  16:53  
So it's almost like it does it does? I mean, again, don't you just think it's like deciding what feels best out of your options like this feels better to get out ahead of it and work 30 minutes a day or early in the morning of each vacation or twice a week while I'm gone or something like create some sort of framework?

JJ Parker  17:12  
Yeah, I mean, I definitely don't go on vacation and work eight hours a day. But it does make me feel better to just stay on top. Yeah, some things.

Melissa Albers  17:22  
Yeah. Yeah. I, I agree with you. And I think too, I wonder if I could be doing a better job. When I go on vacation, of letting people know in advance that I'm going to be gone and I am not going to be working. Because I don't I hide the fact that I'm going to be gone. I don't like to even say that I'm going to be gone until like, right at that last minute. Again, I think these are the story I'm telling myself is that looks bad. If you do that. It looks like you're trying to not do your work or you're trying to and I own my own company. It doesn't matter. There's nobody I'm reporting to but me. But I put that pressure on myself. Like it's all this self induced

JJ Parker  18:01  
boss as a slave driver. Oh, mean?

Melissa Albers  18:09  
Yeah, it's Yeah. So we know the how we taught how we talk to ourselves and the stories that we're telling ourselves about being gone.

JJ Parker  18:15  
Yeah. Yeah. So I wonder, this makes me think like, I should go back to my company and really, really try to examine like, like, do we have? Do we have like a cultural problem? I mean, obviously, if I'm doing it, like, it's probably a cultural problem. For me,

Melissa Albers  18:42  
and I would replace the word problem with norm. It's a cultural norm.

JJ Parker  18:45  
You're right, it is the cultural norm.

Melissa Albers  18:48  
Yeah. Yeah. And, and, and so that, and that makes it even harder, because it's not a problem. It's a norm. So it's even harder to call out what looks to be something that is we've become accustomed to, and and yet, do we really come back vacation is meant to refresh us, you know, for us to feel rested, to feel rejuvenated, ready to take on the world, you know, be happy, like all the way down all the way through the tank is ready to roll. But I don't think a lot of times vacations feel like that much anymore. And I think I think we should have a big self awareness journey push to get back to that kind of vacation, where we just have this more freedom and expansive way so we can come back really refreshed. I like it my passphrase like but I like it.

JJ Parker  19:41  
I can't even get my brain around how that could even actually happen.

Melissa Albers  19:46  
Well, you know what I was reading this article, Arianna Huffington from the Huffington Post. She wrote an article about when she's on vacation, and I absolutely i there were so many parts to it that were really good, but the very last part was The one that always sticks with me. And this is how she deals with her emails when she's on vacation. Normally, we either a don't put on a responder that says we're gone, we just let them come in B, we put on a responder that always says, I'm out of the office until x, please leave, you can call so and so this is an emergency. That's usually what people will do. Yeah, what she does is she leaves a responder that says, I'm on vacation until x. I will not be checking this email. If you want me after this date, please send me another email.

JJ Parker  20:38  
Oh, that's awesome. Like, like,

Unknown Speaker  20:40  
Wow, it puts the onus back on that person.

JJ Parker  20:44  
This email is going in that trash can. Let me know if you want something later.

Melissa Albers  20:50  
She said the reason she did that is because she could never ever escape. She was constantly beholden to her email and her voicemail.

JJ Parker  20:58  
That's a brilliant tactic, isn't it? I I gotta tell you, I, I don't think I'm brave enough to do that. Right sitting right now. That sounds terrifying. I mean, think about it. Like, like the, you know, we you talk about, like, this idea, like fear of missing out? Or something. Right? Or like, yeah, you miss something important. You feel like, you feel like you might be I don't know. That sounds scary to me. Yeah. Well, I could make. I could maybe try it.

Melissa Albers  21:36  
Well, I mean, I'm the whole point of my conversation, you know, today and you and I talking about this is just to bring awareness to how our feelings are and how we behave when we're even trying to do something for for ourselves, like go on vacation, how we we pack it with all of these anxiety, driving thoughts and activities. We pack around it in front of it and behind it. So like, yeah, and and does it really serve us? So when you come back? Do you really feel refreshed? And like you're so pleased that you are gone?

JJ Parker  22:09  
Yeah. Yeah. I don't even want to admit to you what I actually did earlier this week.

Melissa Albers  22:17  
Oh, come on. Now. Now. You gotta

JJ Parker  22:21  
Ah, is this bad? So earlier this week, so I'm going on vacation. Right? Yeah. But Eric comes earlier this week. The the president of one of the businesses was like, hey, JJ, we got this travel ban, you know, because of the pandemic and everything still, but like, we've got this really big, this big, really big sales opportunity. We think we're really close to closing it. I mean, it's like a game changer. Kinda opportunity. He's like, there's a meeting next week. And I would really like, you know, someone to go there, like, and so the in person meeting which, like, at this point where like, it's craziness in person meeting? Yeah. Right. And he's like, I was like, oh, like when is it is like is on Tuesday, next week,

Melissa Albers  23:16  
when you're on vacation?

JJ Parker  23:17  
When I'm on vacation? I was like, Where is it? He's like Salt Lake City. I'm literally gonna be in Salt Lake City. Like, that's where my vacation is. Right.

Melissa Albers  23:32  
That's terrible. Here's

JJ Parker  23:33  
my option. Here's my option is a like, I yeah, you should, you know, fly out there. And go to the meeting, which is like literally a one hour long meeting. Right? or, or, or you arrive 30 minutes to the meeting habit and drive back are like two hours out of my day.

Melissa Albers  24:01  
And you obviously chose

Unknown Speaker  24:05  
go into the meeting.

Melissa Albers  24:06  
The only one that makes seems to make sense,

JJ Parker  24:08  
right? And they're like, Oh, yeah, and you can't wear jeans like oh my god, I gotta do I even own pants.

Melissa Albers  24:13  
I wear jeans? Oh, yeah, right. They're serious.

JJ Parker  24:19  
Yeah, very serious. Like I'm in the tech industry. All I wear is like a hoodie and jeans. I have no other clothes. In fact, if I show up in anything else, I'm gonna think something's wrong.

Unknown Speaker  24:32  

JJ Parker  24:34  
how I dress up is when I actually go on vacation. Well, okay, admitting that little bit aside, yeah, um, we won't we won't do we won't dive into that. No. Problem problems of that decision just now. Coming back for you mentioned coming back from vacation. Yeah, right. Yes. Like we Get back. We have all of our crap. And we just like love like plunk it down in the middle of our living room or whatever. And and then like girl wake up the next day and go to work.

Melissa Albers  25:14  

Unknown Speaker  25:14  
yeah so that feel

Melissa Albers  25:16  
yeah we have this thing where we no matter what don't put our stuff away I mean we don't stop moving until we put our stuff away we walk in house

JJ Parker  25:28  
Oh your say like this is an elbers family probably Spam is

Melissa Albers  25:33  
not it's not fun it is not fun because you're crabby and tired usually when you're coming back because it's all over the all the laundry like the machine starts running and this is not my choice. Can you tell? Oh, for the love like the washing machines already started. We just got home six minutes ago. Can we just relax a minute? Nope.

JJ Parker  25:56  
This feels this feels like this is just like your husband's sweet spot. He's like, this is this is where? takeover?

Melissa Albers  26:06  
shine. Look out. Oh, yeah. And then ultimately, boom, the laptops are both up. nobody's talking to everybody.

JJ Parker  26:15  
Everyone's checking back in. Right? Yeah, we're gonna get right back in the lane.

Melissa Albers  26:19  
Yep. Yep. And I just wonder how long the energy stays with us from that relaxed data vacation? If it was,

JJ Parker  26:28  
sounds like it stopped as a washing machine. Well, that's true. Right? That is that is interesting to think about, like, if the point was to recharge and bring some of that refreshed energy. Yeah. back into your life back into your even back into your work back into everything. Hey, why are we making such an abrupt? Yeah, switch?

Melissa Albers  26:54  
Yeah. So I just think like, this whole topic is not about, you know, feeling bad that you're on vacation, although we've talked a lot about the experiences of how our mind does stuff about vacation before, during and afterwards. But I really think it's important to, you know, just decide, like, make a decision, what is this going to be for me, you know, like, what do I really want this to be for me? And, and what am I willing to do to uphold that feeling? You know, because those are choices that we can make. And we we just kind of get out of the habit of realizing that we can make those kinds of choices to, it's just as simple as deciding where we're going to go on vacation, we can simply say we're going to, we're going to decide to be this way about this vacation. And when we get home. Like I really think it's as simple as a choice. But we just kind of forget, we just kind of get numbed out about that and want to get back to our stuff that we have to do instead of be

JJ Parker  27:50  
like that, like, like, just sort of planning that destination or the activities of your vacation plan, like the state of mind you want to be in. And then the other stuff, yeah, well, will fall into place,

Melissa Albers  28:07  
or even plan on having an open state of mind, right? Like, I remember when I started doing a lot of international traveling, I was listening to someone who did that a lot. And I was learning a lot at the beginning. And the end, they said something that I thought was so interesting, they said when you travel internationally, when you have too many expectations about what things are going to be you are going to be disappointed and you're going to be resentful, and you're probably going to get yourself really trapped. So the most important thing is to stay really open and just focus on enjoying the experience, like be open to the experience all of the stuff about the experience. And I just I just love that. And I think even doing that in our own personal feelings as it relates to us leaving our lives to take these trips, be open to what that can feel like.

JJ Parker  28:55  
I like that. Well, I'm going to start all of that apparently, my next vacation.

Unknown Speaker  29:04  
You did not I hope you have a fantastic time.

JJ Parker  29:07  
It'll be great.

Melissa Albers  29:10  
We hope that you've enjoyed today's episode. Our mission is to help people become happier and more effective by gaining insight into their own thoughts and feelings. We'd love your support. First, share this podcast with anyone you think might enjoy it. Second, leave us a rating or review on your favorite podcast site. This helps others discover the podcast so we can reach more people. And third, sign up for our newsletter at the self awareness journey.com. This will help us communicate better with you and build our community. Thank you so much for joining us in the self awareness journey. We'll see you next week.

Discussed in this episode

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Meet your guides

JJ Parker

JJ Parker is a serial entrepreneur passionate about building creative strategy, efficient operations, and unique marketing perspectives. Parker got his start as a student at The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and soon after launched his first company Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS) with a high school buddy in 1997.

Melissa Albers

Melissa is passionate about developing people’s self-awareness and ability to positively interact with others. She focuses on the importance of building influence, and highlights the most important relationship we have is with self first. Ms. Albers speaks on leadership and self-awareness, and has shared the stage with John Maxwell (Leadership Author and Speaker), Lee Cockerell (Exec VP of Disney) and Les Brown (Motivational Speaker) to name a few.

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