July 27th, 2015, posted by Hamid Safaei on LinkedIn
10 tips practicing which may help you enjoy your vacation
- Plan ahead your vacation. It is a matter of planning and doing. Many claim their jobs do not allow them booking ahead their vacations. In my opinion we make our jobs not allowing us plan ahead our vacations or other activities. A shocking reaction would be understandable if you all of the sudden went to your boss and said: …‘By the way, I wanna take 3 weeks off starting next week”. Planning ahead your vacation has lots of advantages among which booking at lower prices, having plenty of choices and much less stress close to the vacation itself. At least one action (booking the vacation itself) is already done. If you agreed with your boss/team you would be 3 weeks off in 6 months from now, no reasonable person would blame you why you planned such a long vacation. Instead, many people, including myself, would admire your discipline.
- Pass the ball to others before your departure. Many people, if not everybody, like to make sure everything can continue, incl. their roles and responsibilities, during and after their holidays. Nobody is pleased with unexpected escalations while they are not there to take adequate (re)actions. Who would like to get labeled as non-responsive? There is a simple but great way to have almost everything running while you enjoy your deserved holidays. Make a list of all actions you need to take before going on vacation. Make sure you do not park any important activity until you are back from your holidays. Take adequate action and pass the ball back to others before your departure.
- Don’t overbook your agenda close to your departure and right after your return.Do not take new assignments you cannot accomplish before your vacation. Have proper agreement with your network/contacts whether it is OK to take the new assignments after your holidays. Leave yourself some room, block a reasonable part of a few days in your agenda to take care of unfinished work. Do not set any important meetings requiring preparation right after your holidays. Spend the first days after your return on following up and preparing important meetings.
- Inform your important partners/contacts you will be on vacation.Informing people you work with wrt your holidays has lots of advantages. You demonstrate your respect for your partners. You are professional and you create clarity while managing expectations. Informing your partners avoids tons of emails during your vacation. Many wise contacts would send you only emails they would have to, having your vacation period in mind. Many generous contacts would not escalate less important things during your holidays. The wise ones would not call you during your holiday, avoiding roaming costsfor you.
- Have a proper out of office reply. Schedule a proper automatic out of office reply in your email settings aligned with your vacation. Consider your contacts may need you for current and upcoming activities. Therefore, it is recommended to cover, in your out of office reply, whom to contact in urgent cases. To avoid surprises make sure you align with people whose name will get mentioned in your out of office. Remain committed to your out of office reply. Be consistent and do not reply to emails during your holidays. Breaking your own rule could be confusing for the mail sender. Is he/she at work or on holidays, people may ask themselves.
- Book preferably 3-4 weeks in one go. Yes, you are right. It is scary for many people to be away from their daily routine, jobs, friends and administration for such a long time. I am telling you this based on my own experience. The first time I realized the priceless advantage of booking long vacations was in September 2006. Booking long vacations has many advantages. Not everybody can immediately switch off during their vacation, especially since we live in a Smartphone society. Before you practically realize you are on vacation, the first couple of days are gone. A vacation of 3-4 weeks will be relatively more wallet-friendly than 2-3 times separate vacations. If not done yet, give it a go, then you feel what it means.
- Switch off your work related devices during your vacation. Probably I can better say, leave your business Smartphone home when you are on holidays! You may say, are you nuts? How is it possible? My answer while smiling is, trust me, it is possible. I do it almost every year and I recommend the same to all professionals I have the pleasure to work with. You only realize the magic effect of switching off work activities during your vacation when you do it. Just give it a try and if it works do it more often. Then it becomes a habit just like brushing your teeth.
The moment you switch off your Smartphone is the one kicking off your vacation.
- Trust yourself, your boss and colleagues, don’t work during vacation.Do yourself and your colleagues incl. your boss a big favor: don’t work while being on holidays. Personally, I don’t see any advantage in working while being on holidays. The signs you would send to your network would be: you are not in control or you have not taken care of your duties before your holidays. You are disordered and insecure lacking self-respecting and self-confidence. A few like-minded ones may admire your commitment to your work. When you work during holidays, you act very likely as a ‘should’. Whatever we should, couldn’t go always right. Sometime you might react irritated and emotional while missing focus. Therefore, you might take half actions which might cause trouble for you and others. Sending vague half-messages while having a drink can be costly for your image and position. As conclusion you are neither at work nor on holidays. If you are good enough, your colleagues and boss will realize how precious you are for their company. You can make this tangible by not working during your holidays.
If you are not good enough in what you do, your half actions during your vacation will get you faster to exit gate.
- Take a note of brilliant ideas, just a note. Whatever paper and computer can do for you, doesn’t have to be carried by your brain all the time. There come 60.000-70.000 thoughts to our minds every day, psychologists claim. Among all those thousands of thoughts and ideas there are very few brilliant ones we really have to do something with. If there is one you can’t ignore, just put it on a piece of paper or take a note of it on your mobile device. This piece of advice is, in my opinion, applicable for outstanding ideas only. You decide what is considered as outstanding. When you take a note of the great ideas, then you set an agreement with your mind: you will take time and work on the idea later on. Give it a try and you will realize the mind will get calmer and stop putting you under pressure.
- Do not consider yourself more important than you are. OK I admit, there are exceptions. There are escalations which should be taken care of at the highest political level . But don’t worry, there is good news. You’re neither the president of United States nor the leader of North Korea. I have lived in the Netherlands for more than 14 years. I don’t remember any government having governed 4 full years. This is not great and we pay the price for discontinuity of one single government during the granted official period. But, it is not a big drama. Except people at fairly high political level, all others remain doing what they do. It is business as usual for the majority. The lesson I take from this is the fact that everybody is replaceable incl. presidents and prime ministers. So, enjoy your vacation. The company you run/manage partially, has existed before your time. It may very likely continue to exist when you are done.
About the author
Hamid Safaei is the founder of ImOcean Academy. He is a qualified executive coach helping executives and high potentials unleash their potential. Hamid has led successful business transformations for a number of Fortune Global 500.
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