Taking some time off this summer?
You should! We all need a little time here and there to lighten the load, kick up our feet, and relax. A mental break from the day-to-day grind is as important – if not more – than perfect attendance and constantly striving to be productive.
Though I think it is safe to say that most of us value time off, the stress of abandoning a project or returning to a full inbox can actually add stress and anxiety to an otherwise peaceful vacation.
Here are some helpful tips for shutting it down and walking away - stress-free!
As your vacation approaches, schedule time to meet with your team to discuss any ongoing projects, potential issues/concerns, and a point of escalation should there be an emergency that needs addressing. You know you’ve covered for a co-worker while they’ve been out so don’t be afraid to return the favor. Ensure that all parties are briefed on the details of any outstanding initiatives before you leave and make sure your Out of Office response includes a life-line to someone who can help if help is needed.
The closer we get to taking time off, the more excited we become and the less likely we are to want to work. Plan out the week prior to your absence. If there is something you absolutely must complete yourself, schedule time for it. Create a list of prioritized tasks and structure your week to ensure that you have time set aside to address them. This way, when Friday rolls around and you’re headed for the airport, you can leave your worries at your desk.
I know, this sounds terrifying but trust me, it’s the best decision you will ever make. If you have a work phone, leave it at home. If you have email on your phone, remove it. If your team is up to speed and all of your prioritized tasks are complete, everything else can be addressed when you get home. Responding to one email or Slack message will quickly turn into 2 hours, compounded by stress. Save yourself the trouble by shutting it down and focusing on the present.
My wife and I like to spend the last day of our vacation to start thinking about the next one. It helps soften the blow of getting back to reality and it gives you something to look forward to. Seriously, it helps!
We work too hard not to enjoy our time off. Work will be waiting for you when you return. Less of it if you prepare properly and actually use your time to relax and enjoy the break.