We might see Sussman jump up to embrace us for our perspicacity,were he present. But because we're conversing by telephone, wesimply hear him say, "Precisely." Or did we say that ourselves?Either way, armed with Sussman's point of view, we dig around forspecifics. Just how would such a vacation work?
First, we defer once again to Sussman. He would not advise hard-working people to leave their cell phones or laptops at home. People in high-pressure jobs - or who simply enjoy their jobs - find it relaxing to work a couple of hours a day while on vacation, or at least to check messages, he says. "Personally, as a doctor, I go to bed easier knowing who's looking for me," Sussman says. "Many of the kinds of people we're talking about would feel more relaxed knowing they can be reached." Just limit your work time, don't call in unnecessarily, and communicate to your staff ahead of time which situations are emergencies you want to know about and which can wait or be handled by someone else. Cohen, for example, alerts his staff that he's available for creative direction, but not short-term problem-solving.
Another mistake for today's hyper-paced people, according to Dr. David Yamins, a psychiatrist at Maimonides Medical Center in New York, is the classic sedentary vacation. You know about those - you've seen the commercials, even if you haven't experienced one yourself. People lying on the beach, in one position, for hours, with no task at hand but to sip from a margarita. Don't let the image persuade you. It's wrong. Wrong. "Workaholics cannot go on a do-nothing vacation thinking that it'll be possible for them to do nothing," Yamins explains. "If you go to a beach with the idea that you're going to be able to just lie there and turn it off, it's not going to happen."
Instead, get up and do something, anything, that involves muscles, heart rate, and sweat. Biking, hiking, swimming the English Channel, whatever appeals to your perennially active mind. "What often works for a workaholic is a physically oriented vacation, very active but doing something completely different from work activities," Yamins says. "It's the change in routine, not necessarily a slower pace, that makes a person feel sharp and fresh."
How about our friend, the anonymous executive who suffers from a chronic case of insecurity? Yamins prescribes physical exertion for her, too - but with a twist. For her and others like her, the vacation should be "not just active, but doing an activity where they count in the same way they do at work," says Yamins. "For instance, a rafting trip, where they're part of a team whose success depends on making the team work."