Vacation Time

canoes on the lake
Relaxing deserves dedicated time just as much as working does.

I’m Taking the Month of August Off

For the first time, my partner and I are taking the whole month of August off. We planned it a year ago, and now the time has come. We’re not going anywhere, we’re not doing anything in particular, but we’re not going to work.

We both have had our own businesses and have worked from home for decades. We love the flexibility of this setup with the ability to work from anywhere, but we are finding that it is especially important for us to plan in advance our time off.

I Love Working

I love the sense of purpose, the learning, the challenges, and the constant evolution that my job brings me. But there is a balance to everything.

The turnaround is also valid, “I love not working.” It is nice to have time to just relax, catch up on sleep, play pickleball, chess, read, study a little French, do extra meditation, swim. This is what downtime is for.

To find the balance with this has not been easy for me. I have always tended to prioritize work, or homework when I was a student. But recently, focusing on not working has become as important to me. Only in the last six months did I stop working in the evenings completely (I always used evenings as a buffer time). Now, I’m quite consistent about doing nothing work-related in the evenings.

That’s What I’ll Be Doing in August

For a whole month, I plan to be doing nothing work-related. This is the opposite of working diligently, which I do well. I’m learning a new skill: how to plan and enjoy downtime.

This extended vacation will be a new experience for me, and hopefully one I’ll repeat every year. It takes some planning to have my business keep running when I’m not there. I’ve still got a lot to learn about it, and I’ll probably get better at it with time. 

Complete Stop

Just yesterday I was getting my hair cut and I mentioned my plans for August to my barber. I told her that I would probably check my email every few days. She immediately said, “That’s working!” And she was right. 

It feels so irresponsible to not answer emails for a whole month. Could I do it? I don’t know. Would my business fall apart? I doubt it. But I’m willing to try it. If you email me next month, you will get my autoresponder.

There are still a few administrative tasks that I have not been able to delegate each week. I will probably spend about an hour a week doing those, but I’m also thinking about how to delegate those for the future.

What If Being Irresponsible Was My Job for a Month?

As you know from doing The Work of Byron Katie, a turnaround is an opposite. When I do The Work, I experiment with the very opposite of what I think. I’m going to try on the idea of no email for a month.

Sure, some things will fall through the cracks, but I think it will be a very different kind of rest if I am completely disconnected for a month. Of course, I may find it impossible, but I’m willing to try.

You Won’t Hear From Me Until September

You may get a few automated emails but I won’t be writing my weekly newsletter. I hope you can enjoy a little downtime too.

In September, we’ll start up again with a new class of The Work 101. I’m excited to dive into The Work with you then. In the meantime, have a great few weeks until we speak again!

Learn more about this course for deepening your practice of The Work and sign up for The Work 101 starting Sep 13 here.

Have a great month,

“Try to make yourself do nothing. You can’t. You’re being breathed, being thought, being moved, being lived. There’s nothing you can do not to eat when it’s time to eat, or sleep when it’s time to sleep. If you just watch, allowing whatever comes to come and whatever goes to go, you can realize in every moment that you don’t need anything but what you have.” Byron Katie, A Thousand Names for Joy

Further reading: I Have to Accomplish Something Useful, Is It True?

About the author 


Todd Smith has been doing The Work of Byron Katie on an almost daily basis since 2007. He is just as excited about this simple process of self-inquiry today as he was when he first came across it. He also enjoys writing about The Work, and training others in the subtleties of this meditative process. Join Todd for The Work 101 online course, private sessions, virtual retreats, and his ongoing Inquiry Circle group.

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