Updated on 08.08.11

Some Thoughts After a Long Vacation

Trent Hamm

Over the past three weeks, I’ve taken a long vacation.

My family and I traveled to the Seattle area to see the sights, visit family, and take our children to Mount Rainier and the ocean.

We attended my sister-in-law’s wedding and reception and a few other events surrounding it.

After that, we hosted several family members who visited us.

After that, I attended a convention while my wife and children visited family members.

During that period, I intentionally tried to avoid checking The Simple Dollar. I set up a service that sent me messages if the site was having major issues. I checked my email once or twice. My largest effort was an idea notebook I kept with me where I wrote down ideas for articles if they happened to come to me.

As I sit here writing this, I’ve just sat down to write material for The Simple Dollar for the first time in a long while.

Most importantly, I feel really excited about doing it. I have a ton of ideas built up (some of them being good ones that will turn into posts). My only writing in the past few weeks has been on my fantasy novel, so it will feel great to write about the subject of personal finance and growth again.

In short, I feel reinvigorated for my work.

So often (and I was certainly guilty of this in the past), we get so caught up in our work that we fail to take vacations. We never turn off our cell phone. We do work in the evenings. We never get time off.

After a while, that grind can turn even the most exciting job into drudgery. It can sap away your spirit and your creative energy and your willingness to really push yourself at work. It becomes routine – and often, a routine you dread.

A vacation doesn’t mean a trip and it doesn’t mean a pile of activities that wear you out and it doesn’t mean just sitting around doing nothing, either.

A vacation means doing whatever it is that you do to recharge your energy and your enthusiasm for your life’s work. For me, that’s spending time with my family, reading, playing games, and, yes, writing, but writing in an area completely different than my usual work.

During the last week or two before this vacation, I felt like I was pulling double time getting all of the articles ready in advance for the trip. By the end, it all felt like drudgery and I felt drained.

Right now (other than a bit of tiredness from not getting adequate sleep the last few nights), I feel as enthusiastic and ready to go with my work as I ever have.

Don’t ever think of vacation as meaning that you’re avoiding your job. Instead, think of it as putting yourself mentally into the position you need to be in to dominate at your work.

This goes for supervisors, too. If you have a key employee and you need that employee to be hitting on all cylinders and putting out great work, give that person vacation time and do everything possible to not bother that person when they do their own thing. What you’ll get in exchange is an invigorated and loyal employee who will churn out a lot of great work.

In short, we all need time away from our work, no matter how much we love it. That time away makes us better.

(Obviously, because of this sojourn, comment approval and emails are way behind. I’ll get to them as efficiently as I can, but it may be a while.)

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  1. Allie says:

    The site IS having major issues, and has been since before you went on vacation. Look at the comments on any recent “Pieces of Inspiration” post, or just look at the posts in the “wrong” browser (remembering that those who visit your site from work do not always have control over what browser they use), and you will see that there is a fairly serious site-breaking issue with those posts.

  2. chuck says:

    welcome back trent! well that explains why your been ignoring your readers. first thing please fix the font issue with Ten Pieces of Inspiration! it has been happening every week 4ever!
    ps, do u read these comments?

  3. chuck says:

    now that i think about it i havn’t seen trent post a comment here since the time he recommended women wear their husbands old t-shirts instead of spending the money a swimsuit that fits right. maybe that experience turned trent off the comments? it did get a huge reaction.

  4. krantcents says:

    I know exactly what you mean! This summer is the first time I have ever taken time off. It has been the most fulfilling time I ever spent. I worked on projects such as self development, physical conditioning, writing, and just getting ahead. I really think it was worth it!

  5. tentaculistic says:

    Hope your vacation was a nice break, glad you got to decompress! Welcome back.

    p.s. I agree, the fonts on many of the recent posts are crazy out-of-control, they suddenly grow halfway down the page to font size 30 and more (guesstimating of course). Not sure why.

  6. kc says:

    You might want to read ALL of the comments on the latest “10 Pieces of Inspiration” post.

  7. Penny says:

    I have been having those font issues as well! I thought it was something my computer was doing. Evidently not

  8. Gretchen says:

    You didn’t get any notes or comments or emails about that stupid font issue?


  9. Tanya says:

    I agree; vacation and weekends are essential, as are doing things that refresh you. Balance helps you avoid burnout. Glad you got to be refreshed and thanks for the reminder to find balance!

  10. Sam says:

    It’s funny how you not checking in or paying any attention to the blog for 3 weeks didn’t seem any different than when you do, on the reader’s end any way.

  11. con says:

    I agree with #10)Sam. I get the impression that Trent is not passionate anymore (if he ever was) about connecting on some level with his readers and, instead, just likes to whip out his posts to make some money so he can stay home and have his dream job. I know that nobody is making me come to this site. Believe me, I come here mainly for the comments and then read the article if it then seems worthwhile.

    The font problem with the Inspiration posts has been going on for a really long time now. I think J.D. from GRS even pointed out a possible fix for Trent to try implementing awhile back. Was that ever even considered? Who would know?

  12. lurker carl says:

    Out of curiosity, I looked back at last weekend’s inspirations post. I think Trent finally got the message because it has normal sized fonts now.

  13. con says:

    Okay, good. I guess after quite a few weeks, it was deemed important enough to tend to. Better late than never.

  14. em says:

    @Sam “It’s funny how you not checking in or paying any attention to the blog for 3 weeks didn’t seem any different than when you do, on the reader’s end any way.”

    Love it!! I completely agree with this comment.

  15. kristine says:

    It might be a good idea, as most working people do, to note upcoming suspensions of normal activity. No need to alert the thieves and say you are going away, just a “I will be cutting back on comment review, etc. for the next few weeks to spend more time w/ family over the summer.”

    It is the same as any professional having an “out of office” e-mail response. It might save you some agida on the backend, and prevent alienating a steady audience. Just an idea.

  16. kristine says:

    Oh, and ditto KC. You should read those comments on the latest Inspiration entry.

    Cashback (the short) is a copyrighted work currently for sale on ITunes and Amazon, yet it appears here? It also contains quite a lot of nudity, including full frontal, and unaware women being disrobed, sans disclaimer. Ooops?

  17. Julia says:

    Does Trent EVER read any of the comments? He never pipes in to respond to comments, are we just writing into a black hole only for others with (often the same) suggestions to read? Don’t get it – shouldn’t a blog with a “passionate” author be more involved with his audience or are we all just a dumping ground for a need to write? Yes, I read the blog voluntarily, but it is getting increasingly irritating with no interaction (in the form of responding to comments) from the author of this blog with his readers.

  18. Maria says:

    Yes, Julia we are writing into a black hole for others to read and unfortunately Trent is making a fair amount of money off us.
    I don’t know what draws me to the comments everyday ( I have long since lost “inspiration” in the posts). I actually spend a good bit of wasted time here everyday and can’t seem to stop.
    Lately, it has been getting kind of old and routine and I am starting to feel duped.
    Perhaps, us folks coming to this blog for the comments only should try to meet up “somewhere else” for discussions.

  19. Gretchen says:

    I know he gets paid per click (despite odd arguments to the contrary but just can’t help myself.

    No other blog I follow doesn’t comment on their reader’s comments.

  20. Gretchen says:

    Adding a closing parenthesis where missing.

  21. Kai says:

    You don’t check the comments nor fix mistakes, bugs, or errors when you’re not on vacation. How is anyone to notice the difference when you go away?
    Not that you’re reading this to notice…
    The comments are definitely better than the articles these days.
    “How to earn big money on a blog:
    Write some good stuff.
    Attract a strong audience to comment and discuss.
    Stop putting in any effort.
    Kick back and enjoy the money others make for you.

    Impressive work done here.

  22. jackie.n says:

    i would like to see a post from trent after he actually watches the “cashback” video.

    better yet, perhaps he will go a step further and watch it with his wife, and then report back on her comments as well.

  23. tall bill says:

    So you were in Seattle as one commenter wrote who thought he saw you at the Zoo! If you made it to Snoquamie Falls, you were within 1 mile of me. Glad you brought the family to the Wedding & made a Vacation out of it as this area has sooo much to offer. It’s supper that you’re rested Trent. Looking forward to some wonderful inspiring articles ongoing. Thanks!

  24. Sandra says:

    Must admit, I don’t get it. Trent is a self-proclaimed financial guy who thinks he has something to offer in all realms of life. Yet, his life experience is limited. Some of your advice, Trent, is just plain naive. You are not qualified to hand out mental health advice, marital advice, medical advice, nutritional advice, etc. To be honest, I don’t think your really qualified to handout financial advice. Yes, you know some financial stuff – but all of it is widely available and not expanded on in any depth.

    I am done reading your blog, I am sorry I contribute to your being able to check out of the mainstream and stay home to be a “writer” – of a blog and two pedestrian books. I can’t tell you the number of times you have offended me and the industry I spent 13+ years in university to work in. Please remember a high number of readers does not mean you have successfully helped anyone.

    And in my opinion, your promotion of women wearing tee shirts at the beach feels predatory. I understand you were trying to present a values discussion – but, the wrong values seemed to come through. But, it is clear that you are heterosexual.

    Good-bye Trent. Readers, I will miss your wit and passion…but, clicking on this blog supports this blog and I just can’t do it anymore.

  25. kristine says:

    Sandra, Wisebread is good. They do not change articles as frequently, which is a part of the draw here. But they always have many on the front page from which to choose. Not sure if you will ever see this! I keep waiting for Johanna to write a blog. I would go there. She seems to have absented as well.

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