Everyone knows that half the point of taking a vacation is getting away from work, right? After all, no one likes the person who brings their laptop to the beach or chats on their cell phone during dinner. But, as it turns out, there are actually some advantages to taking a bit of your work on the road with you.
As I write this I am in Paris, France. While I could have taken the time off to accommodate for this trip, I instead decided to make myself available partially as a test for my future digital nomad aspirations and partially because, to be honest, I kind of procrastinated on getting a few things done. However I’ve actually been enjoying my “workation” and here a few reasons why:
Less stress beforehand
Without a doubt some of the most stressful weeks of my life have been the ones just prior to major trips I’ve taken. Whether you work for yourself or at a regular nine to five, it’s rare that you can simply peace out for a week without having to do at least some sort of prep for your time away. As a result, by the time you actually get on vacation, you feel like you really, really need one. Although that might sound like it would lead to an even more enjoyable and appreciated getaway, I’d argue it’s no way to start your trip.
More motivation to get stuff done
Perhaps the hardest part of being self-employed is keeping yourself on track and finding the motivation to do what you know you should do. In those cases, sometimes a change of scenery can help serve to help you focus (which I assume is why Starbucks is always overrun with people on computers). So why wouldn’t the same apply to working while away?
Beyond the novelty of working somewhere that isn’t your normal desk, there’s usuallya good reason compelling you to complete your work in a timely manner. For example, I knew I needed to write this tonight so that I can head to Disneyland Paris bright and early in the morning. Needless to say, I’ve never been more efficient with my time — I haven’t even popped over to YouTube once!
Make money while away
For freelancers like myself, another great benefit of continuing to work through my vacation is that I get to keep making money. This stands in contrast to past trips I’d take where I’d not only have to pay for the vacation itself but also have to make up for the lackluster paycheck I’d receive upon my return. In contrast, I’ve been able to enjoy myself here in Paris and spend the money we’ve budgeted without having to worry about taking a financial hit in the coming weeks.
Fits perfect into downtime
Being on vacation means getting away from your daily grind. Luckily that doesn’t really have to change even when you do need to get a few things done. As I’ve found, there are plenty of ways to insert a bit of work into the fun without cramping your style.
Case in point: I’ve just returned from the Louvre museum, where I swear there are as many stairs as there are paintings. With aching feet and no desire to really do anything outside of my hotel room at the moment, writing this post feels less like an obligation and more like a strong use of my time. Similarly earlier today I discovered that it’s way easier to get inspired when you’re casually noshing on a croissant and sipping espresso on a gorgeous French morning. The moral of the story is that there’s surely a way to strike a reasonable work-vacation balance that allows you to enjoy both parts without sacrifice.
Contrary to popular belief, working on vacation actually doesn’t suck. Of course, I realize that such a concept may not be an option for everyone nor will every person be of the same mind as me. That said, whether you’re a looking for a less stressful pre-vacation, seeking fresh inspiration for a current project, or just want a full paycheck despite your time away, taking a bit of work with you on vacation might be the right — although unconventional — move.