Monday, May 25, 2009

Homework on vacation?

I was talking with my good friend Lisa the other day. She was about to leave for vacation and sensed a dilemma. She believed that given where she is in her doctoral studies, she simply could not take an entire week away from school work. However, she also recognized that getting away from the work, taking a vacation, would be important for her, and for her primary relationship.

I suggested a few strategies I have used.

First, travel time is good homework time. Working at the airport and on the plane can be a good use of those hours that aren't really quality vacation time. Same holds true if you are traveling by car, bus, or train, if you can work in such settings.

Second, choose very specific times during which you will work and hold yourself to that commitment, no more and no less. On a vacation last year, I committed to work each morning and that was it -- afternoons and evenings OFF! Lisa's idea was to take one article to the beach each day and when that article is done, she is done with her homework for the day.

These strategies allow you to get some work done while away, and if you honor your commitment, to work while you are working, and relax while you are relaxing. Remember this is one of the keys to success -- be present for the work and be present for the play. No guilt. Just firm commitments and striving toward balance.


photo by HLS


  1. Of course, the reading while in the car only works if your spouse can drive. ;) I took one book with me and was able to get half of it read during the morning. It wasn't the studying I usually get done, but it was something.

  2. Report from the Cayman Islands -- I've taken your advice, and I'm getting some work done while also enjoying my vacation. (It helps that I'm actually very interested in what I need to read to take the next step in my dissertation process. . .doesn't feel so much like working.)


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