Set Your Breakpoints – Vacations

October 14, 2019 0 By Eric Shanks

In programming, we sometime set breakpoints as a way of debugging our code. Maybe a small piece of our routine isn’t functioning optimally and we want the program to pause, part way through, so we can identify the issues with that one section of code.

These breakpoints might be great for coding, but we can apply this to our own lives as well. I’ve recently switched jobs and between ending my previous job and starting the new one, I took some time off. My own personal breakpoint where I paused the larger routine (in this metaphor, the routine is my work life) so that I could focus on pieces of my life that might need more attention.

I’m sure that I’m not alone when I say that sometimes the stress of work deadlines, task lists, emails, slack messages, etc. can sometimes be so heavy that we can’t even see why we decided to go into our chosen field to begin with. I’ve had points in my life where the thought of sitting down behind a keyboard was just the thing that I did everyday, and not the thing I was excited about. It goes with any job in any career, I suppose. Some days, you just don’t want to go to work but you push through.

A breakpoint like a vacation gives you a chance to reset. During my time off, I set aside time to do nothing and just reflect on the things that haven’t gotten enough attention. Some house work, some outdoor (non-screen time) activities, some exercise, and non-work stuff. I was tempted many times to sit down and study something new, not because I wanted to, but because of a feeling of being left behind in some way. The thoughts that my skills were somehow obsolete because I took time off were ever present, but I resisted the urge to act on them.

Eventually, I did do a little studying towards the end of my vacation, but it was because it was something I wanted to do. How about that? I took time away from work and by the end of it, I wanted to get back to studying, coding, writing blog posts, consulting, and the rest of the technology hamster wheel many of us run on.


We shouldn’t think of vacations as a time when we’re suddenly standing still and everyone else is passing by us. Instead these breakpoints should be considered to be a vital part of our career. After taking some time to step back, I feel more energized and enthusiastic to return back to work. I’m sure the results that this enthusiasm will provide will be well worth the time spent away from the office.