Planning Your Time Off Properly

Just started some overdue days off from my day-job and it couldn’t come at a better time. One of my big broad goals is to lead a happy low-stress life while still accomplishing as much as possible and as you can imagine those are two opposing forces. So I thought I would share my approach to proper rest when it comes to taking time off of work.

When it comes to taking time off there are basically two camps. There are the save it up and take nice long big breaks like a week or more at a time. Then there are the type that take more frequent long-weekend type of days off. I would argue either one is fine but you still need to be strategic on how you approach it.

The example is based someone getting two weeks of vacation per year and the six traditional holidays off. If you’re self-employed then your business dictates your schedule. Please note that I don’t advocate using your time to zero. Just like money in a savings account the purpose is to eventually use it but you should at all costs avoid draining it down to zero.

The built in paid days off are:
New Year’s Day (Jan)
Memorial Day (May)
Independence Day (July)
Labor Day (Sept)
Thanksgiving (Nov)
Christmas (Dec)

Your next step is determined if you have an obligation vacation such as a family reunion, wedding, etc. Any vacation with a hard date not determined by you should be plugged into the above 6 built in holidays. Let’s say you have a brother getting married in June and it requires travel your time off now looks like this.

New Year’s Day (1)
Memorial Day (5)
Brother’s wedding (6) 1 week of vacation used.
Independence Day (7)
Labor Day (9)
Thanksgiving (11)
Christmas (12)

You now have five days of vacation to play with. If you are the type that prefers the whole week off you need to be careful. Let’s say you use your remaining week during Christmas. After New Year’s day you won’t have any breaks until May. That is a five month period of not giving you body or mind a break from the grind and by the time your holiday gets there you may be so fried that you’ll find your tank is still almost empty.

I would personally slug it out through the Christmas season and don’t use any time off and use that week of vacation in March that way you get a holiday in Jan, vacation in March and holiday in May. Some of you may be thinking “but the weather can still be crappy in March I would rather save my vacation for later.” My argument would be use your March vacation to have some fun but also plan on taking care of a stuff around the home. Use the time to get yourself setup so that when the nice weather hits a lot that un-fun stuff was taken care of earlier.

Now for the people that prefer more frequent but less days in a row off but still have an obligation vacation like the brother’s wedding here would be recommendation. First number is days used/second number is total vacation days allowed. So 3/10 would mean you’ve used 3 of your 10 vacation days.

New Year’s Day (Jan)
Feb (1/10)
March (2/10)
April (3/10)
Memorial Day (May)
Brother’s wedding (8/10)
Independence Day (July)
August (9/10)
Labor Day (Sep)
Oct (10/10)
Thanksgiving (11)
Christmas (12)

As you can see in the example above you would only have to get through 6-8 weeks at the most before reaching your next long weekend or day off. There is something nice about coming off a holiday and seeing on the calendar that your next break is only 4-5 weeks away and not 4-5 months away.

And if you work where you get more than two weeks (10 days) off per year you can do a little of both method. Use 5 days to fill in those none paid holiday months and plug in a long break somewhere during the year.

People – use your vacation! You aren’t doing yourself, your family or even your employer a favor if you don’t. You need to recharge and just like an athlete who is serious about fitness you need to rest properly. Now go out there and kick some ass then take a break!


About Mr Writing III

Freelance/Freerange writer from parts unknown and weight unknown. This blog is Mr Writing III vents his personal beleifs but his passion is writing fiction. His short story "Borgs of Summer" was twice ranked in Amazon's top 100 in Kindle/Baseball category.
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