I have a complicated relationship with vacation time. I long for time off to read, putter around the yard, write, walk on the beach, go explore a different place. In short, to do the things I don’t have time or opportunity for during the week, or energy to do on the average weekend.
On the other hand, I dread the backlog of work that starts piling up when I take some time off. I get so exhausted trying to “catch up” that the benefits of vacation have evaporated within a day or two of getting back to work. In addition, the week before vacation I usually work like a manic to “get everything done” and in the process get even more tired and stressed.
So how to make the re-entry less stressful? I am going to focus on the immediate–answer retailer and customer email and calls, and handling that week’s deadlines. I am not going to “catch up” and do more besides. The work of the week will simply be to get back in touch and field any urgent request.
One way I make my job more interesting, but also a lot more work, is following up on opportunities. This could be new business relationships, or P.R., or product innovations or ideas. This is partly for my own stimulation and competitive spirit, but it is also from fear–because of the economy I am afraid to miss something that could make a difference.
Readjusting my perspective, it seems passing over two or three weeks out of 50 is not a big impact. The gain in energy and clarity from vacation time offsets any missed opportunities.
Do you struggle with “taking vacation” vs. staying in touch with work constantly? Is “vacation time” truly possible in this economy?