Calling a Time Out, the Right Way

How to make sure your vacation delivers the recharge you need!

We’re in the last two weeks of the year, and you’re probably planning a break. So here is something to consider as you prepare for your time out.

Our time is precious and limited. If we don’t set priorities for how we use it, we won’t move toward what we want or need.

Here are my best tips for making the greatest use of your vacation—recharging, reenergizing—no matter what you do with it.

1. Create a clean slate beforehand.

People who cut corners, delay, or procrastinate have a hard time taking time off. When they do, they can’t really enjoy it. They carry the dread of unfulfilled projects and obligations with them. So they come out of it feeling just as overwhelmed, exhausted, and stressed out as they were when they went in.

On the other hand, the reward for being organized and pushing hard is that you compress timeframes. You create time, which allows you to take breaks when you need them and enjoy them when you do.

My Christmas and holiday wish for you is that you’ve made time for play by working when you needed to work. You’ll get a lot more out of your time off if you have.

2. Know what you need from your time out.

Taking a vacation is like calling a time out in the game of life. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still set priorities.

What do you want or need your vacation to be? More time with the family? Running a 5K? Getting out of town? Sometimes even going after ambitious goals (like backpacking in the mountains for a week) can be the exact thing you need to recharge your batteries.

That said, sometimes the priority is to have no priorities! Sometimes, we all just need a mental break—time to rebuild our mental toughness. We need to sit by a pool and stare at the water or binge watch our favorite show. We need to disconnect from everything we push ourselves to accomplish.

Jessica Weill, Sandy Weill’s daughter, is a high-profile executive. When she spoke at one of our conventions she told us that when she travels she always buys fluff magazines—Cosmo, People. It’s healthy to tap into what’s going on in the outside world, she said, but she also just needs a break from reading technical and financial reports.

It’s all right to goof off sometimes. Just make sure you earn it. Click To Tweet

When you’ve been focused on goal achievement for a long time, just shifting gears and doing something else, or doing nothing at all, can trigger important ideas. Sometimes we discover obvious solutions when we stop focusing so hard on the problems.

When you’re on vacation, make sure you know how to get the recharge you need. Set clear expectations with your family and talk about their expectations, as well—if you want the experience to turn into a happy memory for everyone.

3. Find Your Pace Again

Every one of us has a natural pace or tempo. It’s the sweet spot of how you use your time to be most productive and perform at your best, consistently.

Some people push hard for two weeks a month and back off for two weeks. Some people work like madmen in the morning and slow down a bit in the afternoons. We can’t have the accelerator on the floor all of the time. And we all have a tempo at which we operate at our highest level.

Unfortunately, life isn’t that consistent. Huge projects or opportunities land in our lap and we have to give them everything we’ve got—we have to overdo it. If we maintain that pace for too long (sometimes even when we don’t need to), we run the risk of burnout.

Even computers get overloaded and need rebooting from time to time. Why shouldn’t you give yourself the same luxury? Use some of your precious time on your vacation to check your current pace with your ideal pace. How are you managing your time or leveraging your schedule. Hit the reset button so that you can go back to your important work with the best energy.

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season. And I hope that you make the most of your time off to reconnect, recharge, and reset—to prepare yourself for the fantastic year ahead.

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