How To Take Time off Even if You’re Too Busy

How To Take Time off Even if You're Too Busy

After a year and a half of social distancing, working from home (and for some people having their children schooling at home!), and a potential return to the office, workers everywhere are feeling stressed and overwhelmed. 

Instead of burning out, it’s important to take time to de-stress, relax, and enjoy your life! A vacation can help you do just that. Here, we’ll talk about how you can take time off — even if you’re swamped with work and juggling a ton of personal responsibilities, too.

4 tips for how to take time off, recharge, and relax

1. Force yourself.

Feeling guilty about wanting to take time off? Stop. In fact, if you haven’t actually requested time off yet, now is the time to do so. (Seriously. We’ll wait here. Go talk to your supervisor.) 

Two of the biggest things that hold people back from taking vacation time are the fear of asking and the anxiety about having too much to do and no time to do it. We’re not here to minimize those concerns — they’re valid. But, we are here to encourage you to step out of your own way and just book the time off. You only have one life to live. Prioritize your time out of work just as you prioritize what you do during the workday.

2. Batch your work.

Let’s talk about how to prepare for your vacation now that we can assume you have one on the books. The easiest way to relax when you’re off the clock is to prepare for your leave ahead of time. What type of work can you batch together and hustle through now so that you don’t have to worry about it while you’re away? Maybe you can answer and delete old emails, input data that’s been sitting on your desk, schedule out marketing content to publish in your absence or other tasks that can be done in one high-focus sitting? Batching your work and doing it in advance will make taking time off easier when you’re already busy.

3. Create systems and FAQs.

If you’re one of the lucky people to have colleagues available to cover your work while you’re gone, even in the smallest way, create systems and a detailed list of questions and answers to help them do their job best. Think about the types of questions you get asked more often, and then jot down your responses. Even better, indicate where people can go for answers so they’ll be able to save the answer for another time. Don’t forget to indicate who will be covering your work in your absence, and how people can get in touch with them if they need additional attention.

4. Plan for the future.

Regardless of whether or not you’re able to work ahead, you can put a plan in place for your return to set you up for success. And, don’t let future planning scare you either. This can be as simple or complex as you allow it to be.

For a simple planning exercise, start by setting up an out-of-office email responder and change your voicemail message to indicate the time you’ll be away from work. Then, completely clean your workstation. Once this is done, set up stations on your desk for any incoming paperwork you receive so that everything is organized and ready for your return.

And when you return, relaxed and rejuvenated, of course, don’t forget to turn off your out-of-office email assistant and change your voicemail to indicate you’ve returned.

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Erin Ollila

Erin Ollila is a content strategist and writer who believes in the power of words and how a message can inform — and even transform — its intended audience. Reach out to her on Instagram at @ErinOllila, or visit her website erinollila.com.