Have you ever needed a vacation? from your vacation? I have. The first Monday back in the office, I wondered why I had spent all this time and money in the first place.
It took me years to realize that relaxation is a skill. And like any other skill, it takes practice. The best vacation requires work, but not the kind you imagine. With a little effort, you can prepare for your trip—and not regret it later—by planning your vacation with these five keys in mind.
Key 1: Sight
When Gayle and I first started vacationing together, it didn’t take long for us to realize that we had mismatched expectations. Gayle likes sightseeing. She wants to wander around museums, visit local attractions, eat at all the top rated restaurants, and explore wherever we are. At first she put together complicated itineraries to make sure we had the best experience. There was only one problem. I found her idea of rest exhausting.
On vacation, I like to relax. I love to eat well and want to be able to explore. But I also love an afternoon nap. I like calm conversations. I like a route with gaps that we can fill in according to mood.
Gail and I both had vision problems. To solve this problem, we had to start deliberately discussing what we wanted and working together to create an itinerary that would meet our needs. Without a common vision, we were not united. Our disagreement led to a conflict.
You also need a vision for your holiday. Even if you’re vacationing alone, you should slow down and get clear on what you want. Otherwise, you can go on the vacation you think should have, only to find out that it is not the vacation you need at all.
Can you really visit Rome without seeing the Parthenon? Can you really pay to stay at an all-expenses-paid resort and then just lay by the pool all day? If that’s what you need – yes, you can.
Key 2: Your reason
All the best what has a large why Vacation doesn’t have deadlines like your job does. They are easier to put off. Maybe that’s why the Americans left 768 million unused paid vacation days in 2019. Without clarity about what makes your vacation so important, your vacation days are likely to pile up.
Ask yourself some questions. Why is this important? What will this vacation mean to you? What’s at stake if you no need take a vacation?
If you’re having trouble answering these questions, here are a few reasons to get started:
- Rest helps restore your energy and excitement.
- Taking regular breaks helps prevent long-term burnout.
- Rest improves your attitude towards work.
- Taking a vacation helps you reconnect with who you are beyond what you do.
According to Anne Lamott, “Almost everything will work again if you turn it off for a few minutes, including you.” Imagine that it would make it possible to spend not minutes or hours, but whole days away from the demands of work.
Key 3: Planning for rest and rejuvenation
Nature does not like emptiness. If you don’t have a plan for how you’re going to spend your time, you’ll go back to work.
Your plan doesn’t have to keep you busy. Sleep, slow mornings, and rest can all make the list. But you need to take the time to explain your plan.
Your plan should be tailored to your needs, preferences and location. What does vacation look like for you? Where will you eat and with whom? How will you get away from work?
Your plan doesn’t have to be comprehensive, but it should be clear. Without it, your time away will be less peaceful.
Key 4: Closing open loops
It’s hard to rest when you’re afraid of letting others down. You need to proactively close open loops so you know your team will be taken care of.
My assistant, Jim, is very helpful when it comes to open loops. He’ll look at my calendar and ask, “What needs to happen for Michael to be able to take a month off from the business?” We schedule podcast recordings in advance. He finds others to cover events or webinars that I will miss. He asks to adjust the terms of the project.
For some of you, the idea of a month Saturday night seems impossible now. Start where you are. If you haven’t flown once in the past year, start with a week. If you took a week, try two or three. Then ask yourself what needs to happen for you to be able to fully withdraw at this time.
At our company, team members fill out status information for their teams and supervisors that includes information about the projects they’re working on, including links, training videos, and any information that might be useful in their absence.
This is also the moment to determine who is responsible for which decisions in your absence. But be careful: if you don’t respect these decisions, you will undermine the trust of your team.
Key 5: Activating the departure plan
Creating a plan is not enough. You need to report it.
Meet with key stakeholders to go over the status of the projects you’ve been working on and the key actions they can expect in your absence. Block out time to cover any additional tasks that arise during the meeting. You will also provide instructions on how to respond in the event of an emergency.
Start by defining what an emergency is. This should be a high bar. In the case of my company, only situations like major lawsuits and significant cash flow problems are worth interrupting my vacation. Then determine what should happen in each case. I am directing my team to Jim who will know how to contact me.
You may also need to communicate with stakeholders outside of your team, such as key customers. Let them know about your upcoming vacation, clarify your expectations, and give them the go-ahead. Ask, “Do you think you need anything from me? Let’s take care of it right now.” Tell them who to turn to when they need timely solutions.
Then unplug it. Remove working programs. I even automatically delete work posts while I’m gone because most issues will be resolved by the time I get back. You can find the autoresponder message I use in this post. So I go back to work refreshed, without an overflowing inbox.
Your vacation is as valuable as your time. Rest makes work possible. If you need a tool that reviews each of these features for your next vacation, visit fullfocus.co/vacation. Then design your dream vacation.
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