Are You Skipping Your Vacation Because Of The Work Load Afterward?

A vacation by definition is a time of respite, a time away from work, a time to relax or travel. In theory, after the vacation, one is primed and pumped to get back to work full of renewed energy and enthusiasm. So, what happens to the vacation if you are dreading your return to work because, while you are away, the work is piling up, waiting for you to return?

First day back-to-work woes seem reason enough for some to skip the vacation. Are there other options?

A common “solution” is to take your work with you. Before you leave town, pack your IPad or laptop so you can keep up with work-related email. But, is that really fair—or effective? The point of a holiday is to get away—not to work in a more serene environment.

According to an article by Bob Sullivan, “The American Psychological Association says that 44 percent of adults check email while on vacation, and an astonishing 1 in 10 check in hourly.”

Dan Sullivan, founder of The Strategic Coach—and coach to thousands of high performance entrepreneurs—distinguishes between Focus Days, Buffer Days, and Free Days. According to Sullivan, Free Days must be completely free of work-related problems to be effective. That makes sense! But, is it practical?

The article by Bob Sullivan offers a couple of practical suggestions: (1) Find ways to reduce your email inbox traffic only to that which is essential. This will improve the quality of life on the job and while you are away on vacation. (2) Find someone to cover for you while you are away. Develop a relationship of reciprocity with someone else in the work place and cover for each other.

Pastors, remember to arrange for emergency pastoral care, as well as worship coverage, while you are away from the parish.  Let key lay leaders know that you will not be checking your email during your vacation–or your sabbatical.  If your supply preacher is not available to cover for pastoral care emergencies, arrange for a neighboring pastor to be “on call.”  (And offer to reciprocate!)

Like most problem solving, the most important step in finding a solution requires that you admit you have a problem. If you are not taking vacations, or if you are dreading the work that will be there when you come back home, you probably have a problem.

Photo: Sunbathing? by david reid is licensed under CC by 2.0.