Why You Should Schedule a “Workcation”
Courtney Lynch, July 18, 2016
“I took off for a weekend last month just to try and recall the whole year.” – Jimmy Buffet, Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes
Nothing sets a summer time mood like Jimmy Buffet. The moment I hear one of his songs, my mind wanders to memories of surf, sun and sand. Jimmy’s a pretty insightful guy. Beyond the steel drum riffs, I think there’s leadership wisdom to be found in his witty lyrics.
I recently took about four days off work, and then, well, I worked. Here’s what I mean. I planned four days of nothing specific to do on my calendar and then I dug into doing all the things I felt were important and necessary. I thoroughly cleaned my email inbox. I completed valuable, yet not urgent, projects for my clients and Lead Star. I rested. I relaxed. I read. I worked some more. Dare I say at the end of this “workcation” I experienced the magical feeling of being caught up and ready to face the second half of the year with confidence. Through years of study and consulting on what makes people productive, I’ve learned to implement the lessons I share with our clients.
Here are key best practices for getting on top of it all and staying there:
You need a reset at work at least twice a year, once a quarter is even better. Just like we take vacations to refresh body and mind, we need a workcation to clear off our to-do list and resolve the bulging inbox. Similar to planning for a family vacation or relaxing getaway, intentional action is needed to make focused workcations happen. Take a look at your calendar and find at least one, 3-4 day window in the next six months that you can use for truly focused, “get it done” time. Schedule no other meetings, calls, travel, or work events during this time. If this is easy for you to do, up the bar and block time each quarter.
Focused work is just as valuable as focused time off. We’ve all heard of the dangers of multi-tasking. When multitasking, you are lulled into thinking that you are getting more done. In reality, you get less done and quality suffers. Studies show that professionals who can completely disconnect from work during vacation return to work more refreshed and are more productive. This focused effort applies to the workcation too. During my recent four-day experience, my kids went to Grandparent Camp. Knowing they were engaged and happy left me with greater energy and time to fully focus on work, just like I strive to fully focus on my family during a holiday.
Being caught up makes it easier to stay on top of what matters. Feeling caught up on work and life is powerful wind in your productivity sail. Once you’ve done the hard work to get back on top of it all, it’s much easier to stay there. Instead of having to juggle past due “to-dos” when a short-term task pops up or a true emergency happens, you have more space and freedom to adjust your schedule to make results happen. By doing what it takes to catch yourself up, you’ll experience more momentum and drive to do what needs to be done to stay that way.
Wishing you a fantastic workcation as soon as you can get it. You’ll be amazed at the wonders it does for your productivity!