For the first time in probably a year and a half I took 3 full days off from the computer. Last week was Mid-Autumn Festival and Chinese National Day (similar to July 4th) here in China, so the entire population (or at least most of it) got to experience several days off work. I took this opportunity to travel down to Shanghai with my wife and daughter for a few nights. My wife had never been, and my daughter (being only 6 months old) had never been either. So we booked a hotel, left the computers at home, and took off for vacation. Now, rubbing shoulders (literally) with 1.3 billion Chinese people on the sidewalks of Shanghai may not sound like an ideal vacation, but it gave me a chance to get away from the all-consuming computer screen.
I’ve been burning the candle at all three ends for the past few months, and it was beginning to take a toll. Day 1 of vacation was kind of like withdrawal. I wasn’t sure how many tweets, comments, new blog articles, and random websites I was missing. I wasn’t sure who was emailing, and if they would survive until I returned. I wasn’t sure if my clients would be irritated at 3 days of no response. But I survived. And then day 2 and day 3 were perfect. I didn’t think about work. I didn’t think about web design. I didn’t really think about anything. We spent the days walking the streets looking at buildings built in the 1930s. We walked through the French Concession, Old Town, the Bund, all without a thought of SharePoint, CSS, or anything else that consumes my 12 hour work days!
So my challenge to you: take a few days off. Turn off the computer (as in shut it down). Put it in a cabinet. If you have a smartphone, switch it off…all the way off. Get in the car (or nearest subway or bus) and go. Travel somewhere you haven’t been. Eat foods you’ve never eaten. But most of all don’t use a mouse or keyboard. It’s extremely refreshing.