1. Take Your Vacation Days
Sounds easy enough, but studies show that many people have a “˜work martyr complex.’ where by when we take vacation days it shows that we are taking way our badge of honor of being a hard worker.
Reality Check. You can work hard and play hard. You can find ways to be more productive and work more efficiently so that you can manage it when you come back from holidays. Work will always be there and it is replaceable but your health, spirit and family and friends are not.
So use your vacation day to create balance in your life. Don’t wait until you are burned out. Take time off to recharge and get fresh perspectives helping you up-level your productivity and A-game back at work.
2. Understand your benefits
Learn about how your company differentiates between your vacation days, sick days and personal days. Whether you can take your time off hourly vs. a full day? What type of leaves do they have ““ i.e. unpaid leave, sabbaticals? What is there an un-used vacation day carry forward policy. Can you bank your overtime hours for time off instead of getting paid out?
If you can use a sick or personal day to go see the doctor, use that. This way you can use your real vacation days for your vacation.
If you can take just half a day off without using the full day then do that.
If you have plans to go on a faraway trip in the future, you can plan accordingly. Bank your unused holidays and roll it over to the next.
If you have put in your time at a company, have consistently showed value in your work and can afford to ask for a leave of absence, ask! I did and I got a year with a job to return to.
When you learn about the holiday policies it will help you to plan and maximize your time off.
3. Organize Your Trips Around Weekends and Holidays
When you bookend your holidays, summer Fridays, and weekends it is easy tofully maximize your vacation time – turning a 10-day trip by using up just three or four vacation days.
If you’ve got personal days left, why not also tack on or use a personal day. Typically, I would head out Thursday or Friday night and come back the following Sunday or early Monday or Tuesday morning Monday (depending on how the long weekends fall and flight times etc.)
Depending on how I feel and where I am traveling from, I may roll in to work the same day or not. So know what your priorities are and what you are willing to do and decide accordingly.
4. Take Advantage of Business Trips
If you are traveling for work, try and see if you can extend your trip an extra day or two so you can use it to explore the city/country you are in or stop off somewhere else. Sometime you may need to foot the extra cost to the flight but isn’t it worth it?
5. Build a Case to Attend Conferences
While you are at it, why not get creative and build a budget-friendly case to go to a conference that’s happening at a city you really want to visit and how it is going to benefit your work at the company.
If it gets approved, you can also see if you can take advantage of tagging on a couple of day on your conference trip. If you can’t extend your trip, find ways to explore the city on your lunch break or in the evening when the conference is over. It’s still exciting to visit a new city.