Make Sure Your Vacation Is Really A Vacation
Though we’re well into August now, and what’s considered the last month of summer – vacation season – some of you may still be planning an extended break from work. If you are one of those people with thoughts of vacationing still on your mind, I am reminded of a cartoon I saw awhile ago. It showed what at first glance looked like a couple enjoying a vacation on a restful beach. Upon a closer look, though, you could see that both adults were actively engaged in using a fair amount of hi-tech equipment for work purposes – not exactly what we envision from a relaxing getaway.
Of course, maybe one or two of the tasks they were engaged in simply couldn’t be avoided. But I think we still need to ask ourselves, when we consider a vacation, what actions/measures we’re going to take – not just during, but beforehand – to assure we get the rest that we really need. For example, in preparation for taking time off, if you are an employee of an organization or even self-employed, you should be sure to do the following:
- If in a supervisory role, authorize someone to temporarily assume your position in your place. Of course, they should be competent and trustworthy and understand what they can handle and what needs to wait for your return. And, if you are not in a leadership position, you should at least alert your supervisor of your intended vacation leave, with enough advance notice so he or she can arrange how best to have your work handled during your absence.
- Take stock of your workload and while putting prioritization in place, note just what tasks really need to be accomplished while you are away, and what can be postponed.
- Tell your most important and frequent contacts at work just how long you’ll be gone, how you are reachable, what your limitations are with regard to available equipment and time, and where you are going (so they can account for time zone differences).
- Plan ahead how you are going to catch up on work you missed while you’re gone, knowing that there will always be surprises for you upon your immediate return.
- Try not to leave on your vacation when you have a big project pending that needs to be done quickly. If you do, you may find your attention and focus drifting back to your workplace, which may cause you to lose out on some much-needed fun and relaxation. Either try to delegate responsibility so the project is completed while you’re away, or consider moving your vacation to a time when work is less busy.
And, if you’re one of those workers, vacationing or not, who occasionally pops awake in the early morning hours with a brilliant idea that you just have to note down, try to tell yourself that if the idea is good enough, you’ll probably remember it at a more reasonable hour.
And, taking it a step further, to really enjoy your time off, give yourself permission to temporarily put aside & out of your mind, any work related thoughts and activities during your time away, so you can truly get a restful, relaxing, and as stress-free vacation as possible. Tell yourself that you deserve to do just that. With a typical work week that, for many, numbers well above 40 hours, you absolutely have a right to time off. Don’t ever lose sight of that!
Make it a happy, restful vacation!
Betty Cohen, M.S., NCC, MCC
Serving San Francisco Bay Area, CA, and Phoenix Metro Area, AZ
Phone: (650) 868-5396