Take Time Off this Summer
Americans must hate vacation. Several surveys and studies tell us half of Americans leave vacation time on the table. That was before COVID. Now, we’re coming off a year where the work didn’t let up and many normal activities were impossible. Your stress level is higher than it’s been for years.
You need a vacation this year, more than ever. Oh, I know, you’ve got plenty of reasons (excuses) about why you can’t do it. Let’s look at some.
I’ve Got Too Much to Do
Sure, you’ve got lots to do. We all do. You’re probably at a point where you’ve been buried so long you think it’s a normal situation. Your inbox probably needs sideboards.
But think about the tradeoff. You can keep chugging along weighed down by that pile of work to do or give yourself a break. You can keep the stress building or save your sanity with some time off. Which will it be?
The Work Will Pile Up While I’m Gone
The Efficiency Fairy will not sweep in and pick up the slack while you’re gone. To get some of the work done so it’s not just waiting for you when you come back, you’re going to have to do something about it. Yes, you. It won’t happen automatically.
No One Can Fill in for Me
Stuff and nonsense! You may think you’re indispensable, but the world doesn’t agree. What would happen if you were hit by a bus and killed? I’m betting someone would take your place within a couple of days.
You need a break. To get a break, you also need some help.
Develop A Pre-Vacation Checklist
Get together with your team or your boss or both and develop a pre-vacation checklist. What must be done before you go without doubling your workload.?
Make a list of all the routine things that you should do. This includes things like putting an “I’m away on vacation” notice on your phone and email. When you’ve got the routine stuff, move on to the ways that others can help you manage the workload.
Ask others what they need from you before you go. Then move on to how they can help you.
Who’s going to check your email and messages for important things that need to be done? Who will handle some of your work while you’re gone? What are the cases that you should be notified about even while you’re on vacation? There should be no more than two of these.
Develop a post-vacation checklist, too. List all the routine things to do when you get back, like removing those vacation notices from your email. It should include debriefing with the people who covered for you. Block time on your calendar to review what happened while you were gone and prioritize what you need to do. The person who taught me about the pre- and post-vacation checklists had a practice you may want to consider.
She made her announced back-to-work time two days after she actually returned from vacation. That gave her two days for the debriefing and reviews so that she was ready to go on the first “public” day back.
Now Think About What Vacation Will Be Like
You may not go to some exotic foreign land for a vacation, but even if you take a week at home, you should identify some things to do.
You might do a day trip with your spouse to some local destination. You might read that book you’ve always wanted to read. If there’s something relaxing around the house that you haven’t had time to do, this would be a good time.
You need a vacation, especially after the year of COVID.
You can always find excuses not to go.
A little planning will help.
Develop pre- and post-vacation checklists.
Plan your vacation, at least a little bit.