Every year at this time, many Microsoft employees start to devise plans to take off extra vacation time here and there so they don't lose it. We get an e-mail reminder with a tool that helps us calculate how many days we will lose by the end of the year if we don't take them. Accrued vacation time plus additional accrual through the end of the year, minus any already scheduled vacation days not yet taken. Each employee can carry over one year's worth of vacation time. For me, that's 4 weeks. Anything above the 4 weeks, I am at risk of losing. Gotta use it or lose it.

Each year, I try to remind myself to take the time off in the summer when it's nice outside. I never really do that. The things that I would have taken a day off for when I worked at other companies, I don't feel the need to take a day off for; dentists appointments, that kind of stuff. When you have flexible work hours you can go do what you have to do and work your schedule around it. That's why I have been so successful with going to the gym regularly (except for those 2 weeks when I fell off the gym wagon). I can go during the day. It's not about which hours you work it's about getting the job done.

Working from home as much as I do also keeps me from having to take vacation days for things like deliveries. Also, if I am not feeling well, I can often log on from home and still get work done while not contaminating others.

So this all results in me having to take 110 vacation hours in addition to my Thanksgiving vacation. I think it's important to take the time and not lose it and I encourage my team to take theirs. We all work hard, that time is earned and nobody is going to tap you on the should and tell you to take a day off (actually, someone might, but you can't really expect it). My plan is to take the time off and really focus on relaxing. Ooh, that's a tough word for me to say r-e-l-a-x-i-n-g. It's not in my nature. I am going to give it a shot.

I have about 2 months worth of unread magazines. I'm a magazine junkie. I think that is about 20 magazines. The weather outside is getting cooler and the idea of snuggling on the couch with some coffee (sorry Mark, not tea) and a book or some Sudoku puzzles (another of my favorite obsessions) is appealing. I'm starting to feel unburdened by the prospect of yard work (just a little clean up and I am done for the season...yay!). I'm going to cook and take naps. I'm going to actually use my Netflix subscription. I'm going to record old movies. I'm going to have lunch with friends. I'm going to take cooking classes.

I am not going to clean any closets or rearrange any furniture. I think if I keep telling myself that I'll make it true.