As a professional, you likely get three or more weeks of vacation to use each year. However, the demands of being a professional make it quite difficult to take all of that time during the year. If you can’t afford to take week-long periods of vacation multiple times throughout the year, taking a short break in the form of a long weekend is the way to go.
Your employer gives you vacation days to use and expects you to use them. If they wanted you to work all the time, they wouldn’t have given them to you. And, you’re actually getting paid to take those vacation days. So why wouldn’t you want to use them.
We all think our jobs are so important that we can’t take all the vacation we earn. We just can’t be away from the office that long. Things will fall apart if we are.
You think that. But, it’s not true.
The company will survive while you are gone on vacation. Get over yourself and just go. You and your family will thank you.
Just to prove it, just take one day of vacation wrapped around a weekend. Take that three-day weekend and see how you get along. I promise you the world will not end.
Watch the short MasterCard commercial above. It’s titled OneMoreDay and is very fitting to this conversation.
Hopefully that video piqued your mind a little so you’ll think about taking some long weekends this year. You want to know the benefits of taking that long weekend, don’t you? Well, here you go:
Benefits of Taking a Long Weekend
Following are three benefits of taking a long weekend to use up some of that previously unused vacation time. These are common sense but since you haven’t used your vacation time like this in the past, maybe it’s not so common.
Face it, you love to work but it can wear you out emotionally, mentally and physically. Sitting with terrible posture behind a desk all day, dealing with employee issues and researching answers to difficult questions drags you down.
Taking short breaks during the day help during the day but those quick jaunts around the block to the nearest Starbucks can’t keep you fresh. You need a longer break and the three-day weekend is just the way to do it.
Spend time with your loved ones
Being successful in your career requires certain sacrifices. Unfortunately, too many professional sacrifice their time with family to keep “providing” for them. Your kids want stuff but they want you more. Take a long weekend and give some time back to them.
Yesterday evening I took two of my daughters, my father and my nephew to the farm to go fishing. The entire trip lasted only about three hours but these are memories my kids (and me) will remember for a lifetime. There is nothing better than being paid to take my kids fishing!
Time for house repairs
The “honey do” list continues to grow. You want to scratch at least one item off the list each weekend but two more are added. You should outsource most of those tasks but why would you do that if you’re capable of doing them? I’m not criticizing…I’m talking to myself.
If you can’t get enough done on the weekends or in the evenings, and you won’t pay someone else to do it, extending your weekend by a day or two will give you the time to accomplish some of those house repairs.
How to Prepare for a Long Weekend
Talking about using vacation days here and there for some long weekends is one thing. Doing it is altogether something else.
You really would love to take an extra day over a weekend but you just feel like you can’t. I’ve been there too. Sometimes we just feel so overwhelmed with what we have to do that we don’t think we can afford to take a day off. It’s hard enough to take both days off on the weekend.
Thankfully you can use the following practices to help you overcome the guilt of taking a three-day weekend.
Set expectations with family, co-workers and clients
In plain terms, we experience stress when our expectations do not mesh with someone else’s. Setting expectations of what will get completed before the weekend, what will wait until after you return and who will cover things while you are gone will make it so you can leave (and stay gone) stress free.
Have frank discussions with your boss, team members, family and clients before you leave. Agree on expectations for projects, emails and response times while you are away.
Plan to work longer hours before
When taking a long vacation, you’ll likely need to work longer days for the entire week before you leave to get as much done as possible. Adding a day to your weekend won’t require that much time commitment but you should plan to work a little before and a little after you return.
You can still get work done while you enjoy your long weekend. How? By having someone else do it. That’s what delegation is all about. To get co-workers to help you while you are gone, be sure to reciprocate when they ask you to do the same thing.
Don’t plan meetings the day you return
When you go back to work after an extended weekend, you will have a lot to catch up on. Even if you delegated tasks and responsibilities while you are away, things will still pile up on you. Email, as you know, is the worst.
To get the most out of your first day back, don’t plan any meetings or plan to be out of the office that day. Plan to be in the office all day so you can catch up on as much as you can. You’ll also have the availability to catch up with your co-workers about what you delegated to them.
Don’t check in
Checking your email over a long weekend can ruin the weekend. It’s not an innocent thing to do or even a good thing to get “caught up” early. It will stress you out because you will want to reply to emails or take care of things as you see them in your inbox.
You can still get work done while enjoying a long weekend…by having someone else do the work.”
I’m at the end of a long weekend right now. It’s been glorious. While I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to accomplish during this short break, I do feel I achieved each of the benefits above. I am refreshed and ready to get back at it in the morning, I spent quality time with my family and I did a little yard work that needed to be done.
My long weekend was a success. Now it’s time for you to schedule your next long weekend. It’s an easy way to use your vacation days and it provides a much needed respite (albeit short) from the crazy professional life.
What are you going to accomplish on your next long weekend?