I was on spring break last week with a great friend, my teenaged son, and his friend. I knew it would be a working vacation for me, and I told everyone with me that I would be working part of the time. My son told me that he didn’t think I understood the definition of the word “break” or “vacation”.
My son and his friends are very talented musicians. We chose to go to Asheville, NC because it is supposedly one of the best places in the US to “busk” (entertaining on the streets). We found musicians, jugglers, and what I call the “freeze” models. The “buskers” ranged from ages 7 to 70, and we all enjoyed them!
I LOVE to go on vacation. Travelling is one of my favorite things to do outside of work. I like to go new places, have adventures, walk in new areas, and relax. I did all of those things and had a wonderful trip while spending time with wonderful people AND doing a little bit of work. As a side note: If you recall from an earlier blog, I’m working on doing 52 new things in the year I turn 52, and I turned 52 in Asheville! I’ve done 27 new things so far.
I have long been an advocate that companies should not allow vacation carryover – or at least only a very limited amount or for a very specific reason. “I didn’t have time to take off” is not a specific reason. People (including me!) need to relax and get away from the office. It helps us to be better delegators, teaches our team members to take on more or different responsibilities, reminds us that most emails really don’t need an immediate response, and allows us to think differently (because we might come from a different perspective, have a clearer head, or not be as frantic).
If you or your company allows employees to carry over vacation, you might just be encouraging them not to take it. By not pushing them to take time off, many times they continue to think they’ll just take it later, and they don’t.
If you are the employee who doesn’t take their vacation and/or continues to carry it over; I urge you to schedule it! Schedule a week, schedule some Fridays (actually I think it can be easier to take off on Mondays and not get caught up in your week), make a plan! Book an airline ticket, make a reservation, call a friend, or buy materials for a home DIY project. Whatever it takes to make it work for you; the work will still be there, and the more we keep working, the less productive we are.
Now, back to my spring break story. After telling me I didn’t understand the definition of a break or a vacation my son said, “you are supposed to relax and get away from work.” They then went out on the streets to play and returned an hour later with $50. Then, he said, “it’s not work if you are having fun is it?” I just smiled. I really do have fun with my work, but I work “some” on vacation only so that I can take MORE vacations!
Take a break! Plan some vacation time!