In the past several comments on the issue of vacation deprivation, based on the segment with the NBC Nightly News for which I was interviewed as their productivity expert in dealing with this issue, I talked about the increasing demands placed on our time, the intrusions of technology, and the need to use that “extra” time to improve our professional expertise. In this final section dealing with vacations, I am including comments, some in support of the other focuses, and then adding a new one: our own expectations for ourselves as we struggle with finding ways for effective time management. Often we hold ourselves to a standard that is difficult to meet.
- One reason for not taking all vacation time is the culture of expectation in the workplace here. While vacation days are not frowned on, the work not completed because someone is on vacation is still expected to be completed by the original deadlines.
- The first year I went into management I burned 2 or 3 vacation days. I said I would never do that again. Figuratively, I am probably still burning vacation days because now I will take some vacation days just to haven an uninterrupted day of work.
- There is the type A personality where expectations of self do not always allow for unfinished or delayed projects. (fortunately I am now successfully dealing with this second part…………but it took a while and having additional “stripes” to begin the process of more realistic thinking about this one).
- I have not taken a vacation where I didn’t work, take my computer or check vmail in several years. Not working during my vacation is more stressful than working because I will be thinking about how much work will be waiting for me when I return. In a week I will receive hundreds of emails, and the max amount my vmail will carry is 50 messages so I have to clear those or lose many.
- I now have a routine where I plan nights out that I will work for 2-3 hours (in the evening after my wife goes to sleep) during our vacations. We have been to Europe and Japan, and the internet allowed me to stay connected to work.