7 Steps to a Happier, More Relaxing Vacation
Taking time away from the office is an essential ingredient for all professionals working at a high level. Whether for an extended vacation, a quick getaway, or even just one day off; time spent recharging your batteries results in a better, more relaxed, more productive you. It helps rejuvenate and provide clarity or new insight both professionally and personally. In my personal opinion, the key to making the most out of this precious time is proper planning to ensure minimal stress and a high level of productivity while you’re away from the office.
In the weeks and days leading up to my planned time away from the office, I often stress that business matters may not be managed to my expectations while I am gone. Would the clients be serviced in a timely manner, would patients receive the attention they deserve; a good deal of worry can quickly fill a business owner’s mind when preparing to leave the office for an extended period of time. In anticipation of these concerns, I have found that appropriate strategy and proper planning can ensure that time out of the office results in rejuvenation and relaxation, not worry and working remotely.
In my experience, there are seven steps to ensuring a more relaxing, work free vacation, including:
- Establish a company policy for vacations: Standard Operating Procedures should require employees to give ample notice of planned vacations. Ensuring ample staffing will greatly alleviate the possibility of operating short-staffed. There are always exceptions such as an unexpected death or illness, but in the case of vacations, I recommend requiring employees to give at least 5 weeks advance notice.
- Plan early: If you’re going on vacation, chances are you’re making personal plans months in advance. Planning in advance saves you money personally but it also allows you to make proper arrangements at work to make your vacation smooth for everybody involved and affected.
- Communicate your plans early and often to team members, clients and partners: I recommend telling employees, team members, colleagues, partners, vendors, and clients your plans as soon as possible. Regularly remind your key clients and staff members of your intended absence. Consider including these key players in a shared calendar alert as additional notice. Advance notice allows them to be aware and set their expectations accordingly.
- Make a list of the tasks you need to accomplish prior to vacation: A detailed list of action items you need to accomplish will enable you to work towards a work free vacation. I find that having a list keeps me on track and helps me maintain focus while accomplishing the tasks I need to before leaving.
- Prioritize the list: there are always some tasks that take precedence over others. Make these your first priority. By accomplishing the major tasks first you’ll alleviate the stress commonly associated with being out of the office.
- Assign team members to cover for you in your absence: Take time before you leave to prepare them for things that may come up: Clear and concise communication will leave little doubt about your expectations. Your team will know exactly what you need, expect and want to happen while you’re gone. By setting clear expectations your team will be equipped and prepared to handle your responsibilities in your absence.
- Commit to being on vacation and not working remotely: This is difficult, especially with modern technology that makes it so easy to stay connected. If you follow these steps listed above it’s easier to step away and unplug. The most important part is to commit to unplugging.
By creating this plan I’ve had fulfilling and relaxing time out of the office. I had fun, my wife had fun and when I came back to the office I was more rested than I’ve been after past vacations and I felt more eager and ready to take on and conquer the world.