It does happen from time to time.
We all know the double work that occurs before you take time off, especially if you’re trying to string together a few days away. It usually results in a soul-crushing couple of days beforehand of trying to remember who needs to know what followed by a laundry-til-midnight packing session. Don’t do that to yourself! Here are 5 tips that could help you arrive at vacation day better rested and less in a panic:
1. Plan your vacation in advance.
“That’s not a tip for work!” Shut up, yes it is. If you have vacation to take, get it on the calendar as far in advance as possible. If you’re planning less than a month or two out, you’re letting your vacation down. Vacation should be a thing you can keep in your head like a Zen moment: one day, I will be at the beach and leave my phone in the room. Thinking about vacation eases your mind and your soul. Think about it way ahead of time.
2. Plan your vacation in advance.
If your vacation plans are last minute, you’re just inviting work to come along with you. You’ll get it on your calendar, but it will feel like a wall rushing toward you instead of the escape it should be. Everything will feel last minute and your time off will become a source of stress that will sabotage at least the first day of whatever you’re doing. You’ll find yourself allowing little moments of, “Well, I can take care of this one thing while we’re away.” DON’T.
3. Make a list.
Not a packing list, though that’s helpful too. Make a list of all the things that need to be covered, accomplished, published, emailed, or even just nudged along in your time away. Even better, make it a portable list so that you can access it from anywhere, because you’ll think of things while you’re everywhere. GTask and Evernote are great digital assistants. Why a list? To help you remember. But more importantly, crossing things off of a list reduces stress and gives you hope. You need hope.
4. Communicate well.
Your precious parent volunteers need clear direction. They’re usually more capable than they know, but something about the leader not being present freaks everybody out. The more you explain their role or what will happen in the tiniest detail, the more comfortable they’ll feel. Giving them notice in advance goes a long way too. Even if you’re an expert short-term planner, volunteers finding stuff out the week of your vacation makes you look a little disorganized. Don’t feed the stereotype.
5. Shut down.
Especially if you’re on paid vacation, leave the work behind. Paid vacation means that you are literally being paid to NOT work. You are doing your job badly if you work when you are being paid to not work. Be unreachable. I know it’s hard and you’re already planning ways to “just check in every once in a while.” And then you’re hitting refresh on Facebook and stalking your kids. Stop it.
Go be on vacation.