So I’ve got a couple of weeks off of work starting next Monday for the holidays. It’s been literally years since I’ve had so much time off from work, and I’m really looking forward to it.
Of course, the time off is intended to refresh, relax, and reconnect with people who matter most in our lives. That’s on top of my list definitely., and I can’t wait for all the merrymaking this Christmas time. (Note, I honest-to-goodness love this season, and with or without a vacation, it’s something I always look forward to every year.)
There are also a few things I want to get done at this time. While spending time with family is never unproductive, I do want to get some things moving forward in other aspects of my life as well.
Here are some things I look forward to doing this holiday break:
1. Get some coding done.
Will it be worth it to learn something new in this area? I don’t really know for sure, in the context of my career trajectory. But it definitely doesn’t hurt. At the least, I believe a more hands-on understanding of my team’s work will help me better understand their pains and better appreciate their triumphs. That’s certainly one way towards managing them better.
2. Explore new ideas and opportunities.
When we’re caught up in the daily grind of our work, we can miss out on opportunities or ignore potentially good ideas that pop up in our heads. Fact is, we hardly have time to explore them, much less work on them. I’m looking forward to get the chance to consider some of these ideas more deeply (and maybe even prototype a few of them).
This doesn’t just mean completely new business or work opportunities, of course. Opportunities to make small, incremental improvements to what I’ve got going now are more like it. Great leaps are made in small steps, and just being able to test out a few ideas would be a very productive use of time.
3. Reflect on the year gone by.
It’s been a transformational year for me – a new job, a new home, major progress in a few startups (this blog included), and, most importantly, my firstborn daughter. All in the span of one year. Of course, in spite of all the successes, I’ve made many mistakes along the way. Spending time to reflect over both the good and the bad is something I look forward to doing over the next couple of weeks.
Retrospectives are always helpful when done right. Recognizing how things went and accepting one’s failures are the first key steps towards making improvements. Celebrating victories are likewise great to get pumped up on starting your next big thing. In summary, taking some time to look back at the year gone by – never a bad idea!
4. Set new goals.
I started seriously setting annual goals for myself just last year. A bit of a late start, but never too late, I say. The goals I set for myself at the beginning of 2019 were the anchor that allowed me to take a lot of risks, knowing full well that radical progress often starts with a gamble.
Now I’ve realized the importance of setting annual (optionally, also midterm and long-term) goals in getting a good picture of how your ideal year is going to go. It also encourages you to work just a bit harder day-to-day. I definitely believe in living in the present, but it’s helpful if you can make today’s decisions based on the tomorrow you want.
If you’re looking at setting new goals yourself for the year 2020, here’s a Trello board I made that might help you with that. It’s free to use, just make a copy from the template and you’re good to go!
All of these things might seem like a tall order to complete in a couple of weeks, and they probably are. But it’s never a bad thing to stretch targets a bit further than what we’re comfortable with – one thing that I’ve learned this year and something I’ll definitely keep in mind in setting this year’s goals.
Of course, I might end up scrapping all of these and spend the entire two weeks just enjoying time with family. Not complaining. There’s hardly a better way to spend one’s time, if you ask me. (Note, this is Harper’s very first Christmas and I’m super excited for it!)
Here’s to a great holiday break for me and for all of you!
Dexter is an engineering manager at Synacy, a co-founder of ATeam Business Software Solutions, and founder of TechManagement.Life. He loves to share his experiences and thoughts on managing software teams and running businesses.