Getting Away from your Desk Helps Productivity

I’ve been enjoying the backpacking season. So far, I have done three backpacking trips, and I am going on one more at the end of this month. As I have been distracted with my other hobby, I have not forgotten about this website. In this article I go through the importance of refueling and a different perspective on pain. Are you able to get away from your job? Are there things in your work life that seem to consistently and constantly cause pain?

A Programmer Who Backpacks in Montana

Take a look at the trip reports I put up on my personal blog:

Selway-Bitterroot’s: Blodgett Canyon
Jewel Basin
Absorka-Beartooths: Lake Plateau

Here are some photos from the trips:

Getting away from it all reminded me how healthy this is on many different levels.

Through the years I’ve been on both sides of the working spectrum: putting in 50+ hours per week and working less than 30 hours per week. Regardless of what you do and how much you get paid, you cannot maintain a healthy life for very long without getting away from your job. I feel very good about where I work and what I do on a day to day basis…more than I have ever felt in the past.

Here are some thoughts that relate to this:

  • It is not safe to assume that salary positions at most web companies will require you to put in more than 40 hours per week, every week. This is not the case.
  • For me, backpacking allows me to refuel my soul. I enjoy working when I know that I will be able to take paid time off to do whatever I want to do.
  • It is easy for me to put in 110% into my job, when I know that I can easily get away from work.
  • Since I enjoy my job, I can get a lot more done in less time. On top of that, I no longer hate Mondays!
  • My family time ends up being more enjoyable because I have more time to spend with them and we can go on more vacations.
  • Becoming burned out is one way to ruin your productivity level and causes you to hate your job.

I’m constantly striving to improve how much one hour of my time is worth, from a productivity standpoint. Learning to do this will guarantee that you will always end up getting raises and job promotions.

Not all Pain is Bad

Take a look at the blisters I got on my last backpacking trip.

Were they painful? Absolutely. But given that I hiked about 40 miles with a pack for this trip, they could have been much worst. It is easy to forget that pain is simply an indicator of something that is not right. Instead of “working through pain”, we really need to learn from it when it is in our power to do so. In the case of backpacking, I will be more prepared to prevent blisters on the next trip.

When we experience pain in our jobs (tight deadlines, over committing, burning out, too much stress, etc…) we often are focused on getting through what is immediately at hand, that we forget to figure out why that happened in the first place. To put it in different terms: it is like getting stabbed and not caring about how you got stabbed. There is a time to push through it, but the how and why is very import in preventing the same thing from happening again.

Often times it is through pain that we can achieve the next level. Whether that is through relationships (business and personal) or at your job. So don’t be discouraged when pain comes your way. Do what you can in preventing it from happening again! And don’t forget to make time to get away from the usual job grind.

2 thoughts on “Getting Away from your Desk Helps Productivity

  1. You have the best scenery out there, friend. I’m sure I will be twice as productive after a trip to serenity like this. Probably you have to know the back country pretty well to conduct a safe trip I presume. For a guy like me from the East, my fear is that my time would be wasted worrying about the unknowns than enjoying nature. Is it safe out there for non-locals? And what is the accommodation like for tourists? I hope to see it these in person one day.



  2. As long as you stay on trails, it is safe. In fact, you probably are safer out in no mans land than driving in a big city! 🙂 But yeah, I love it.

    The main thing is either doing a lot of research before you go, or taking someone along that has some experience.


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