Don’t work during your vacation

Who killed summer vacationQ:  I have good news and not-so-good news:  My boss says that I will have more opportunities if I learn a new product set. The not-so-good part is the timing: My two-week vacation begins next week and I don’t want to use the time to study!  Where do I find the time?

A. I firmly believe that we need vacation time and I have noticed that many of my coaching clients approach their vacation with trepidation. “Who killed summer vacation?” TIME magazine asked on its June cover.  The short answer is, “We did,” collectively, by acquiescing to veiled requests such as “I know you are on vacation but we need you to call in.” The legions of workers tethered (and in some instances addicted) to their smart phones no longer recognize and honor work/personal boundaries.

Now, let me return to your question:  Where do I find time to learn a new product set that is key to my career advancement?  Here are a few questions to consider:

  • How will you prioritize?  What products will you learn first?  Note:  Pick the easiest one to learn so that your new knowledge translates to value for your clients and your success will mean time well spent.
  • What is the best time of day for you to focus?  Early morning or late night?  Align your energy with the task.  Don’t try to learn new material when you are distracted or tired.

Now, make a plan that begins after you return from vacation. Include specific times to learn the new product set.  OK?   In addition,

  • Have you included a “buffer” day between returning from vacation and starting work? Don’t make the mistake of feeling squeezed—and possibility resentful—on your last day of vacation.  Plan ahead and make a leisurely transition.
  • First day back at work:  Have you scheduled time to clear your emails?  Connect with manager, colleagues and clients? Block some time out now!

Remember, if you hold fast to the belief that you can turn work off and turn vacation on at will because you are adept at compartmentalizing, remember that recent neurological studies reveal the fallacy of this thinking. Finally, to underscore the reason you should enjoy every moment of your vacation here are five of the ten behaviors TIME magazine identified that you don’t want to exhibit at work:

  1. Every little problem is turning into a big issue
  2. Your coworkers keep asking if you’re feeling all right
  3. You start making mistakes
  4. Everything hurts
  5. You’re feeling pretty cynical

Enjoy your vacation! Licensed for use by LXR , for a period of five years from shoot date.

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