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Dec 6, 2021

This week’s podcast is about a concept that I believe I've invented, and it's called the half-cation. 

Think of vacation, get rid of the vac and add half. And that's what you've got. Half-cation!

Recently. I read a book, Catching the big fish by the film producer, David Lynch, it's a marvelous quick read.

In it, he refers to the value of transcendental meditation and how it helps him find the big fish creatively speaking that have made such a huge difference in his life. So always eager to try things. I thought “that sounds like me”. 

I've dabbled in meditation off and on, but never transcendental meditation (TM), long story, but I got myself signed up and wow the first two days, I have never felt so tired in my life. So tired. In fact, that when I went to the premiere of the James Bond, latest movie, I fell asleep. Dead, out to it and I have been hanging 3 years to see this movie, I love James Bond. 

All I had done was dedicate two sessions of 20 minutes to TM and it knocked me out. 

When I told this to my TM teacher, she told me this was a normal response because of the stress in my body.

Stress? What do you mean stress? 

Sure enough, after a few more days of TM, I’m back to life, I obviously needed that break, that mental break to remove the stress. 

On reflection, because of COVID, it's been two years or so where I've basically been flat out just doing stuff and haven't had a break. I imagine a lot of you are in a similar circumstance, we can’t take a break.

In my life, I'm doing some major clients work now. Plus, I've started two brand new, exciting ventures and they need my attention. And let's be honest, I'm recording this in November, so Christmas is just around the corner. I will shut the office down and I'll get a couple of weeks rest then. 

But you know what, that stress I had built up can't be good.

Maybe I need a bit of a break, now?

Hence the concept of the half-cation where I'm going to have a two week break but staggered over the course of a month. In other words, work half days and have half days off. And in that time, I'm going to get a two-week, half-cation. 

After one week, I’d like to share with you what I've learnt. 

A quick backtrack, I've have plans for a new book that I want to publish. I'm a self-publisher, which means I take a 100% of my profits, that also means I must cover 100% of my expenses. No one sends me to an island and pays my bills and says, “send us the draft manuscript of the book”. No, I've got to squeeze time out of my schedule and use my own resources. Originally before COVID, my plan was to go to the coast of Croatia and write this book, but that isn’t happen anytime soon because of the international border situation. My plan now is to knock out a “chunk” of this book during some of the time I have for myself in this half-cation. 

This is what I've learnt so far:

  1. the better you set the half-cation up, the more likely you are to be successful with it. This set up idea came from an article by Jari Roomer. Have some key rules behind setting up your vacation time. 
  2. Use the free time to move forward rather than to move backward. In other words use the time to look after things like - your health, your nutrition (slow cooking), spend some time reading, spend some time on self-improvement, watch a few documentaries and work on passion projects, (AKA) my new book. This strategy has the effect of conditioning your mind to see the importance of this free time and prioritizing it happening.
  3. Plan the entire week ahead. Not only the half-cation time, but also the half day of work. Plan it ahead because now your work time, which is reduced to a half day is more critical than it perhaps was when you had a full day.
  4. work is for producing, half-cation time is for consuming. When you're working, you're there to produce. How do we produce…? 
  5. Use the Pomodoro technique, by Francesco Cirrillo. Find your natural sweet spot of productivity. Mine is 33:33 minutes. In that amount of time, I can get an enormous amount done of the highest quality. I don't lose focus and concentration for the entirety of the time. Once 33:33 is done, I must get up. I must refresh. Even if I don't think I need it. If I aim for two or three pomodoro sessions in my half day of work, I will get a full day's work done because I am so focused. 
  6. Have fun! Remember half your day is a vacation. 


After one week, my to-do list is all but done. I've achieved just as much in half a week, as I normally would have in a week. Plus, I've done some of the activities, the passion projects, the book in my vacation time. Here to, simply slotting in one, or two pomodoros. 

It's been an amazing week. Only one hiccup. If I continue to achieve what I've achieved in one week and that maintains itself for the month, then, I'm going to explore three months, six months and ultimately a year because it feels like I'm not going to lose anything in productivity.