You’ve been there: the vacation you’ve been looking forward to all year is three days away and now you’ve run out of time. Everything you’ve procrastinated about at work is now due, the kids need a bunch a gear for the trip, plus there’s cleaning the house for the relatives, travel insurance, booking the dog into the kennel and, well, you get the idea.
It doesn’t seem to matter what time of year it is, or how long you plan, the closer you get to leaving the longer the To Do list grows. It’s inevitable.
I just returned from three back-to-back week-long adventures: a river race in the Yukon (see http://fwd4.me/07as), a retreat with Bill Plotkin on Salt Spring Island, and an island-hopping sea kayak trip with my family on the West coast of British Columbia.
And it happened every time—last minute rushing threatened to taint my experience.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Here’s what I’ve learnt to do. Maybe one of these will help you the next time you start thinking about pulling out the surf shorts and packing your bags .
Get your sleep. Scrimping on sleep time in order to get it all done just leads to stupid mistakes, being grumpy (is it just me?), and not enjoying yourself at the start of your vacation.
Get help. Look for items that you can delegate and do it. This is a great time to test moving work off your plate and expanding someone else’s responsibilities.
Be strategic. You know it’s all going to pile up into the last 48 hours, so start early, make realistic lists, and peal off some of the To-Do’s starting a couple of weeks before. Getting the kids what they need for the trip the week before helps to avoid a lot of panic in our house.
Don’t take it with you. If you don’t transition to holiday time it will just feel like work near a beach. One third of Canadians admit to checking work email while on vacation and I have to admit to blowing this many times and regretting it. Instead set the out-of-office message on your voice mail and email, allow what happens to happen, and really soak up that special spot you’ve worked so hard to arrive at.
Canadians are vacation deprived—(see Expedia’s 2010 “Vacation Deprivation Survey” results at http://fwd4.me/07at) one half of us admit to this and one quarter of us don’t take any vacations at all. So, when you are finally ready to go on one think ahead and do it right—you deserve it.Tagged with: accountability • decisions • effectiveness • email • family • freedom • happiness • health • leadership • small stuff • time management • travel • vacation