To get away from one’s working environment is, in a sense, to get away from one’s self; and this is often the chief advantage of travel and change.Charles Horton Cooley
We all need a break from time to time to experience a renewing of our hearts and minds. Feel like you’re ready to get away? Well, not so fast: there’s a lot to be said for planning ahead when it comes to your vacation time.
When is the best time to take a vacation? That depends on your work, how much vacation time you have available, and where you want to go. But here are some guidelines to consider to help you figure out the best time for you.
The most convenient time for your company
Is there a season when work is slower for your company? A period where there are extra interns around that could help out?
Asking these kinds of questions before you ask your boss for time off will show that you’re considerate and want to make it easy for him or her to say yes.
This will also make your vacation more enjoyable. You won’t be worried about work getting behind or leaving your company shorthanded during a difficult season.
Consider adding to days you already get off
Many companies give time off around major holidays like Christmas and New Year. Some employers even pay for some of those days. So, consider adding your vacation days onto the days that you already have off if you can. This can give you a longer vacation while using less actual vacation days.
Plus, you may even get paid for some of it. If you’re wanting to go somewhere that is popular during the holiday season, this may not be the best option for you – it may be too crowded, but still an idea worth considering.
Take mini-vacations more often
In a video from the Wall Street Journal, Sumathi Reddy explains that studies by psychologists are showing that shorter, more frequent vacations are paying healthy dividends as much as longer vacations.
If your employer allows it, it can be a great idea to take a few days off here and there throughout the year to rejuvenate and give your creativity a boost while keeping stress at a minimum.
Reddy says that vacation benefits can kick in as quickly as two days in. She also says that happiness peaks on the eighth day during longer vacations, so more than this isn’t necessarily better. Too long and you can get too far out of your routine, making it harder to recover when you get back.
Know yourself and schedule your vacation accordingly
What time of the year do you, personally, most need a break? Are there times that you tend to reach burnout more easily? These times could correspond with a busier season at work or could come after a busy time of family activities. Home life can present up and down seasons too. Scott Berkun puts it this way: “The ideal time to use vacation is when there is peak value, in your own psychology, for escape (say, when you feel creative burnout).”
Pay attention to when you’re at your peak and when you tend to feel lower and more sluggish. The lower times could mean that you need a break to regroup and revive. If you have the luxury, schedule your time off for when you know burnout is likely to set in.
Make any time a good time with early prep
You may not always be able to slip away during the slower times at your company or that may not always be the best option. If work is slow, you may want to use that time to catch up on less urgent work tasks.
So, you can help make any time a good time by preparing ahead. If you know there are projects that need to be completed before a vacay, then plan for them and break them down into smaller chunks in a way that they can be accomplished easily. Work on your productivity to cut down time spent on mundane tasks so you can complete more with ease.
You don’t want days leading up to your vacation to be overwhelmingly busy because you have waited until the last minute to try and accomplish too much. Manage procrastination or you may still be super stressed while trying to enjoy your time off.
As we can see, there are many factors that go into choosing your best vacation time. There are even more than listed here, like financial considerations (high seasons at resorts and hot vacation spots can cost a lot more than off-seasons). It’s a personal thing, but following these guidelines will help you choose the best time for you.
Whatever times you choose, make the most of them. Leave the office behind as much as you can and nourish your mind and body. You will come back refreshed and ready to start again.
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