The Case for Vacation: Take It, Unplug and Enjoy - McClarie Group

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The Case for Vacation: Take It, Unplug and Enjoy

Have you taken a vacation yet this year? Do you have one planned? August is always a great month for some well-deserved time off – in fact, it’s the most popular month for vacations. Yet with small staffs, fear of layoffs and folks who are simply addicted to their work, nudging employees to take vacations is more challenging than you’d think.

I know of several companies that offer unlimited vacation time. Justin Graves, CEO of Infegy, feels so strongly about rest and relaxation that he purchased tickets for everyone to go on a cruise – in essence, mandating that they have a little fun.

Why all the eagerness to send employees away? Because exhaustion leads to burnout, which the World Health Organization now considers a syndrome linked to chronic stress at work. That’s not good for your company – and more importantly, it’s not good for you.

If you know me well, you know I love a vacation. My most recent trip to North Carolina and on to Hawaii was perhaps my best ever break, thanks to some excellent vacation prep suggestions from author and entrepreneur Michael Hyatt, a huge fan of time off. Michael attributes doubling his income to the fact that he’s doubled his time spent away from the office, resting, refreshing and rejuvenating.

These particular tips from Michael have made a profound difference in how I make the most of my time away:

  • TIP 1: Visualize your vacation. What kind of vacation do you need? Are you looking for a spiritual pilgrimage? Health improvement? Sightseeing? What do you want to eat on vacation? Will you exercise – if so, how? If you’re traveling with others, how much one-on-one time will you spend with them? How much time will you spend on your own?

    Now you know what you want from your vacation and you’ve made your plans. Here’s the big question: How will you get out of the office and stay out, especially with the temptation to check your cell phone and email?

  • TIP 2: Make a list of your upcoming tasks or projects. Can you finish them before you leave or when you return? Can someone fill in for you? Sam Kemp, an Administrative Coordinator at Gilead Sciences, limits his list to five pressing projects. His boss, a very busy SVP who leads a team that represents Gilead products around the globe, depends on Sam to keep the department running smoothly. By thinking through various work scenarios and preparing steps and responses to help those who covered for him while he was gone, Sam recently enjoyed two weeks in Cuba without checking email – and the department didn’t miss a beat.

  • TIP 3: Schedule a team meeting, review your departure and return dates – and determine who could fill your shoes while you’re gone. Designate one person to be your key contact, if needed, and be clear about the types of things they should reach out to you about.

  • TIP 4: Think you can squeeze in a meeting or two while on vacation? Stop right there. Go back to the beginning of this article. Vacation means vacation – not vacation plus work.

  • TIP 5: Spread the word. Update colleagues, clients and customers about your plans and who’s filling in for you, and revise your voicemail and email with out-of-office messages a week or so before you leave. That way, if something important is coming down the pike, you can address it (or delegate it) before you head out. Your message should include when you’re leaving and returning, and who to contact for which particular issues. Provide your key contact’s name and number/email in case of emergency.

    Great. You’ve delegated, you’ve packed and you’re ready to go. Enjoy – and send me photos. Nothing makes me want to vacation more than seeing my friends’ vacation photos.

    Now, flash forward a week or three. You’ve had the most wonderful vacation. No stress, no worries. You’ve put new things in front of your eyes, new sounds in your ears and new thoughts in your head. You’re on your way home. What’s your re-entry plan? How will you keep those good vacation vibes with you when you return to work?

  • Tip 6: Take one more vacation day – at home. You need 24 hours to unpack, catch up on things around the house and regroup. Don’t check your email or voicemail yet. Give yourself one more day before returning to work as a new and better you – a more powerful and more valuable you, ready to take on the rest of the year with a renewed sense of purpose and enthusiasm.

  • Bonus tip from Cecilia Ziniti, Lead Counsel and Director, Cruise Automation: When you return to the office, thank your boss. “Tell them how your vacation helped you relax and think creatively,” Cecilia suggests. “They will appreciate the sentiment and be more likely to encourage others to take time off. And if one of your team members shone while you were away, tell them you noticed! And give them more of those projects you might have previously done going forward.”

There’s an important gift you can give your colleagues when you get back – and I’m not talking about chocolate-covered macadamia nuts or Eiffel Tower snow globes. The gift is simply this: Return the favor. Be willing to fill in for others as they head out for vacation. Remember – you want them to come back to work rested, refreshed and rejuvenated, too.

Wishing you joy, unfathomable success and the ultimate vacation,

Charmaine McClarie


P.S. Have any great vacation tips to add to my list? Be among the first five to email me your suggestions and I’ll send you a complimentary link to my ESP Audiobook download.

P.P.S. Great news! Along with speaking at the Watermark Conference for Women in February and my upcoming presentations at the Texas and Pennsylvania Conferences for Women, I’ve been asked for to deliver an encore presentation at the Massachusetts Conference for Women, as well. This one is set for Dec. 11-12. Scroll down for details!

By the way, thank you Texas Conference for Women for featuring me on your website!

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