In a nutshell: Vacation time can advance your career and reduce your stress levels. If you find the right time, delegate your responsibilities and reduce work-based intrusions, you’ll enjoy the time you spend out of the office.
In a world where we literally wear our technology (read: smartwatches), we may feel tethered to work. Even if you’re not in the office, you hear the email ping all day long (and all night long if your company is global). We all know it’s good for us to have downtime, but it can be hard to break away.
If you can’t convince yourself to take a day off, this might: According to a study by Project Time Off, as cited by Fortune’s“Americans Are Still Terrible at Taking Vacations,” employees who forfeit vacation time are less likely than those who take all their vacation time to have been promoted within the last year (23% compared to 27%) and to have received a raise or bonus in the last three years (78% compared to 84%). It’s no shocker that those who fail to take all their allotted time off report being stressed too.
These tips will help you take the break you deserve:
Plan Vacations in Advance
If you’re an accountant, you should avoid taking a vacation around tax time. And, as a retailer, a break during the holiday shopping season wouldn’t be a good idea. Scheduling time off around big projects will not only allow you to be worry-free while you’re away, but it will also let you plan accordingly to ensure your responsibilities are handled when you’re gone. According to Business Administration Information’s (BAI) “Become a Super Scheduler,”you’ll be more productive and effective if you take charge of your own schedule. So, resist booking that cruise just because it’s discounted and think about what time of year works best for your business.
Avoid Checking in too Frequently
Whether you’re halfway around the world or just barbequing in the backyard, if you’re supposed to be taking a break from work, take the break! Fight the temptation to check in via smart devices. According to The Muse’s“How to Actually Stop Checking Your Email All the Time,” try these tips:
- Turn off push notifications so you’re not getting a ping every five seconds.
- If you check it obsessively without notifications, turn email off during your downtime.
- Block out time to answer emails so you’re not doing it when you’re not supposed to.
Delegate your Responsibilities
This goes hand-in-hand with planning vacations ahead of time. If you schedule time out of the officewell in advance, you’ll be able to determine who will pick up your workload while you’re gone. There may be some items that don’t need to be addressed while you’re away, but then you’ll have a backlog when you return. And be sure someone in the office has the authority to do anything you usually do. You don’t want your absence to disappoint customers or get in the way of normal business operations. According to Inc.’s“7 Strategies for Delegating Better and Getting More Done,” play to your workers’ strengths when asking them to cover for you, always include instructions and don’t be afraid to teach new skills.
Be in the Moment
If you’re not physically in the office but your mind is preoccupied with work, you aren’t really taking a break. And you’ll probably build up quite a bit of resentment toward work by the time it ends. If you notice your mind wandering toward work, focus on returning it back to what is in front of you. You’ll be able to do this more easily if you’ve made the preparationsappropriately to take the time off. It doesn’t hurt to ask your spouse, children or friends to gently remind you if they see you drifting toward work during your time off. You’ll be thankful that you actually got to enjoy your weekend, date night, annual beach vacation or family ski trip. After all, you deserve it for all the hard work you put in all year long.