Take a REAL Vacation!
In today’s world, where we’re always connected by various mobile manipulators of time (e.g., smartphones and laptops), it’s near impossible to disengage from work and dedicate time to ourselves, our loved ones and other non-professional passions. And even though the tough economy might make you feel as if you simply can’t take that occasional well-deserved break — you must. Unplug. Unwind. Unworry. Find a way to rest and rejuvenate with no interruptions from the “outside world.” When you return to work, you’ll most certainly be a better, more productive you.
Want to make sure you can truly relax on that long-awaited vacation? Before you pack your bags, make sure you:
Prepare your team. Make it clear who will handle what responsibilities, train your team members for the duties if necessary, and define what is and is not important enough to warrant a phone call while you’re gone. Give your direct reports a written plan to follow, so they know exactly what to expect and how to keep business running smoothly. Not only will preparing your team members help them and the business, but it will also save you a lot of potential grief. You’re more likely to be able to relax for real on your vacation, knowing you’ve done everything within your power to prevent potential problems and messes upon your return.
Plan time off well in advance. Sure, last-minute vacation opportunities do pop up from time to time, but try your best to plan as far in advance as possible. Once a year, say December, set aside some time to chat with loved ones to determine when you’ll be taking off significant blocks of time and put those dates on the calendar. If they’re marked down in black and white or entered into your Outlook or another mobile calendar application, they will transform from ideas or wishes into real commitments – even priorities! Challenges or potential obstacles might come up between now and then, but setting the dates aside well in advance will give you time to tackle whatever comes up or simply must be done.
Minimize vacation during peak activity periods. A lot of businesses have peak periods or seasonality to them, so it makes sense to plan your vacation time to coincide with whenever it’s “off season.” You will relax more because less is happening at work while you are gone. Set an example for others, so they are clear when it’s best to take time off as well. It’s common sense, but just don’t do anything that you would ask someone else not to do.
As a business leader, do you ever feel guilty taking vacations – why or why not? Or do you feel vacations are impossible for you?