A Busman’s Holiday

A few days ago we returned from a week long working vacation down to the coast. This wasn’t a visit to a client site or a trip to an extension office. It was more of a re-location of current activities. A Busman’s Holiday. Our days were filled with long walks on the beach, trying out the local restaurants and working on special projects. That’s right, working, on vacation.

Being an Indie developer means that you can be somewhat of a Bedouin1 traveling about the countryside laptop in hand. A fast internet connection, a power outlet, and my laptop are all that I really require to be productive. Well, almost. A supportive spouse who has a similar mindset is critical. For the third year in a row now we’ve made this trip down to a sleepy fishing town on the coast and each year great things come from it.

There’s one rule to a Busman’s Holiday. Don’t work exclusively on existing projects. Pick something new that you’ve been wanting to explore or start something that you’ve been wanting to get to. Working on a fun special project multiplies the creative effects of your work and can take you to truly undiscovered territory. In fact, my primary product, Mathemagics, started out this way on a trip a couple of years ago. Last year saw the brainstorm and start of another successful project. And this recent trip was no different in setting the tone for the rest of my year as an Indie.

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with the solution to a problem as if your mind was working while you were asleep? Or had a great idea while in the shower? I think this happens because in those situations our minds are closer to a state of relaxation. Stress of day-to-day activities fades away and opens the pathways our brains need to make the leaps of thought that manifest themselves as creativity. A Busman’s Holiday is like that. Removed from your daily work environment and nestled in a relaxing setting the ideas begin to flow and hyper productivity sets in.

So, if you have the means then you might want to take a Busman’s Holiday. Pick a relaxing spot somewhere near where you live, set the expectations for the family that this is just work but somewhere else and go for it. Step outside of your normal daily activities and temporarily relocate to your creative zone.

1. If you are in or near Austin Texas then you can get a weekly dose of nomadic life by attending Cafe Bedouins on Tuesdays.

This post is a part of the iDevBlogADay group of Indie development blogs. Thanks to @mysterycoconut for managing such a great site.