I just came back from holidays and for the first time in a while I’m actually feeling refreshed! I don’t know about you, but usually when I take time off, I don’t feel like I have enough time to truly detach from work and rest. By the time I’ve settled into to vacation mode, the week is almost over and it’s back to the day to day. This time I did a few things differently and found it really made a difference. So, I’m encouraging all of you to:
Use your vacation days
I took a full two weeks off this time. This is the first time I’ve done so in 5 years and since being with my current company. This may not be realistic for everyone, but whatever the length of time, if you can take a little extra time off I strongly encourage it! One week is great, but two allowed me to really detach from work and feel rested. I was able to go away for eight days, while still having a few days on either end of the trip. Particularly on the back end, rather than rushing back to work, I had an extra-long weekend to allow me to get back to normal (grocery shop, do laundry – all the fun stuff) and feel organized before getting back into the swing of work life. I’ve often felt guilty in the past taking holiday time and wouldn’t take all days given to me in a year (I’m still working on that) but as much as we can it’s important to take time for ourselves so that we don’t burn out. We’re given vacation days for a reason – so use them!
Turn off your phone
Or at least your notifications! This is something I’ve never done. I’ll admit I’m a little particular when it comes to my phone. I don’t like to have notifications showing for long and often open up / clear out any notifications in a timely manner. This includes emails – I want to see it as its happening and I can’t NOT look. This vacation I turned off my email notifications so I would not be distracted by work emails. The reality is that most of it wasn’t time sensitive, and if it was, my team could handle it in my absence. It’s hard not to know all that’s happening – but after a few days I didn’t miss it. With technology at our fingertips all the time everything gets an instant reaction these days and we often feel we need to respond to others at all hours of the day. Often that’s not the case and taking some time to be ‘out of touch’ was the best decision I made this holiday.
Trust your team
This goes hand in hand with using up your vacation days to take the time you need and not checking in every day. I work with amazing, talented individuals who are all extremely capable of handling anything that comes their way. Even something they may not be as familiar with, or a client relationship they have not yet developed as far, I know that whatever comes up they can not only deliver, but will knock it out of the park. They can manage in my absence and they know how to get a hold of me if needed (luckily they didn’t!). I know they have my back while I’m away, and they know that I will have theirs when they are off (and I will strongly encourage them to take the time!). Trusting in their ability to manage things while I was away made it easier for me to stay out of touch and detach while away.
I recognize that I am very fortunate to be able to take vacation time away from work and that I have support to not have to worry about whether or not things are getting done while I’m away. This may not be the case for everyone. But where you can get away and truly detach – even if just for a day – take a little time for yourself this summer. You, and your organization, will be better off because of it!
Devan is a Partner with Acuity HR Solutions. For more information about what Acuity’s team can do for your organization, visit our website at www.acuityhr.ca