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EHS OutLoud Blog

Making Time to Take Time Off

clock.jpgIt's May, which means it's almost June, which means it's practically beach season. Who isn't daydreaming about trips to the ocean, or taking the family to an amusement park, or finally embarking on that cruise or European vacation?

OK, so maybe a trip to Europe isn't in your budget this year, but that doesn't mean you can't look forward to some well-deserved time off from work. Of course, if you're too busy and stressed on the job, you might not be able to enjoy your vacation – or you might even be reluctant to plan it at all.

No matter how busy you are or how many responsibilities are currently on your plate, both at work and at home, you deserve to take a vacation. Taking a break from work can help you feel refreshed and newly motivated. The trick is to manage your time wisely before and after you head off into the sunset.

Doug Brown, academic manager of Post University’s MBA/Corporate Innovation & Entrepreneurship program, relies on his 20 years of experience in small business management and development to offer the following tips about managing your time prior to a vacation:

Replace time management with priority management. Decide on your most important tasks rather than your most time-consuming ones. Most of all, acknowledge that you are the one who maintains the control over your own time choices.

Recognize when you are at your best. Do you do your best work in the morning, the early afternoon, or late in the evening when the kids go to bed? Take note of your ideal working time, and then take advantage of that time to tackle your most important responsibilities.

Let go of the conventional business usage of time. Recognize your most productive time of day and use that for success rather than following the traditional business usage of time. For example, if the early morning is your best time of day for knocking things off the to do list, then little tasks like checking your email during those important hours can be incredibly harmful to productivity. Block off the last hour of the workday to check your email instead.

Consider making a “stop doing” list. Take your usual to-do list and streamline it for productivity by deciding what you are and are not willing to put on your to do list.

Schedule “good thinking” time. Block off personal time to think or brainstorm. Yes, this often occurs on the drive home from work or in the shower, but it can happen more if you allow yourself the time for it.

Take control of your time choices. The most detrimental mindset is to think, “I can’t control any of my day, therefore I’m not going to try.” Recognize your best time of day and make that time a priority for your personal productivity.

If you follow Brown's tips and make smart use of your time at work prior to a vacation, you just might make an easier transition from business suit to bathing suit once vacation time rolls around.

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