Work and Vacation

I imagine that summer vacations from school comprised formative periods for many people across the world. Six weeks (or more) without broken education systems breathing down our necks, allowing us to discover all those things that require long, uninterrupted blocks of time to understand and appreciate.

At some point during the last five years I started reading the works of Nassim Taleb. I regularly find myself coming back to one of the more well-known quotes taken from one of his books:

“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.”

For a long time when coming back to this quote my focus was on the second addiction, carbohydrates. Lately however, my focus has been shifting to the third addiction. It doesn’t take a lot to find people who don’t agree with the categorisation of a monthly salary as a harmful addiction, and it is something that I myself was largely indifferent to until very recently because it seemed to have as little direct relevance to my life as the first addiction.

Over the past two years I’ve been working to create, refine and most importantly, follow routines in my life that are intended to ensure that I get an adequate amount of sustained and deliberate practice to allow me to reach the various goals that I have. Ultimately however, even the most finely-tuned routine has to be squeezed into either the hours before I sit down at my desk in the morning or the hours between leaving my desk and getting into bed in the evening.

This is not a situation that is conducive to being able to regularly achieve a state of deep work with regard to the things that I care about most and the goals that I want to achieve.

With all of the above in mind, I have decided to try resurrecting the spirit of the school summer vacation this year. I plan to take six to eight weeks of unpaid leave from my job this summer to focus both on the things that are important to me personally and the things that I believe will prevent stagnation professionally.