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Tag Archives: vacation from work

A few weeks ago, I spent some time with family on the East Coast. We had a few responsibilities and appointments, but in between our little tasks, we laughed, relaxed, swapped stories, and generally enjoyed each other’s company. Stepping away from my responsibilities in Minnesota gave me a little perspective. Suddenly, my list of house projects seemed less important. My coaching work and other responsibilities were less urgent. What mattered most was family and being present for one another.

That’s what happens when you take a break. You allow yourself the space, time, and peace to reflect and gain perspective. You might start to realize what’s truly important in life. You might remember what truly makes you happy.

Taking a break is good for your mental and physical health as well. I’ve read numerous articles on how taking a meaningful break can rejuvenate your body and improve concentration and motivation. One study by a professor at the Wharton School of Business found that when people spent more time on family, community, and self, “their career satisfaction increased by 21% and their work performance (self-assessed) improved by 8%. Happiness with family life grew even more.”

That’s because we’re not meant to work 60 or 70 hours per week. If we go, go, go, chances are, our batteries will quickly become drained and we’ll end up working harder instead of smarter.

That’s why I advocate for taking a break. Make it meaningful. Make it a real break, and not just a “working remotely” situation. Step away from your laptop, your email, your responsibilities. Go somewhere without wi-fi or cell phone reception if you have to! Just take a break. Your body and mind will thank you for it.


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Your vacation from work checklist

In past blog posts, I’ve written about the benefits of taking time away from the daily grind to rest and rejuvenate. It really is beneficial to your mental, physical, and emotional health to take a vacation and get away from the office for a little while. Taking this R&R time helps you from getting worn down, burned out, and even gives your health a boost.

But, what if you have trouble truly getting away? What if you’re physically in another place, but your mind is still in the office, worrying about clients or invoices? That kind of defeats the purpose of getting away. When you’re constantly worrying about how things are going back at work, you’re not allowing yourself to rest and revitalize.

To prevent obsessing about work while you’re away, it’s a good idea to properly prepare for your vacation. Spend a little time now to enjoy your vacation later.

Use my handy Vacation Checklist as a guide:

-Set an automatic vacation response for all incoming emails. If you’d really like peace of mind, keep the response active for one day after you return from vacation to give yourself a little catch up time.

-Delegate tasks to co-workers or staff. You probably have some weekly or monthly responsibilities that will slip through the cracks unless someone else does them. Ask a co-worker or two if they could take care of those tasks, and assure them you’ll return the favor if and when they go on vacation. BONUS TIP: Schedule the assigned tasks on a calendar, share them with your co-worker, and set a notification for when the task should be completed.

-Anticipate potential fires. If you have a particularly troublesome client or a tricky weekly report that you always write, anticipate any hangups and do a little planning. Tell your troublesome client you’ll be out of town, and give them the phone number of a co-worker (with their permission, of course) who can help them. Train someone on how to write that tricky report. These actions will help you prepare for this vacation and others down the road.

-Check your tech. If you must check emails (though I hope you can take a little break!) while you’re away, make sure you’re able to remotely access your inbox without issue. Once you’ve confirmed that everything is functioning properly, commit to only checking email ONCE PER DAY. Get up, spend a few minutes addressing any pressing emails, and move on with your day.

-Give yourself permission to rest. Many of us feel guilty when we’re given a sustained amount of time to relax and do absolutely nothing for a change. If running around like a mad person is your norm, putting on the brakes and doing nothing can make you uncomfortable. Before going on vacation, come to terms with this. Tell yourself that this is “you time.” You’re investing in yourself, and you are worth it. You can also look at it from a work perspective: By spending this time away from the office, you are equipping yourself to be mentally sharper, emotionally rejuvenated, and physically healthier. You’re investing in your personal wellbeing.

I hope you have a chance to get away sometime soon, and when you do, I hope you’ll allow yourself to be truly present. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast. Take morning strolls. Notice and enjoy your surroundings. Just breathe.

Margaret Smith is a career coach, author, Insights® Discovery (and Deeper Discovery) Licensed Practitioner, and founder of UXL. She hosts WORKSHOPS for people who need career or personal guidance.
NOW LIVE: Check out Margaret’s NEW online Leadership Course.

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