Why scheduling a break is as important as taking one!
It's common for people, particularly High Performers, to get burned out.
We are go-go-go for so long, and then suddenly we need to rest immediately. It's already overdue.
Work-Life Balance is a hot topic. Companies promote it. When new recruits are hired, it's a an important discussion to be had. How do you switch off and relax? How do you prevent burn out?
What does successful Work-Life Balance look like?
Personally I think Work-Life Balance subjective. Some would say renting a beachside cottage for a week and hanging out with their families with no real set plan would be the ultimate relaxing vacation. Meanwhile I can't think of anything more stressful.
But whatever your ideal break entails, it is no longer glamourous or acceptable to work all the time and not have any down-time to smell the roses. Vacation days are meant to be used. Life is for living.
What I'd like highlight is that while it is important to have a break to recharge, I believe it is equally important to know when you're when your next break scheduled.
It should already be booked in.
In my early 20s, I was working as a salesperson in an extremely busy retail store. We were understaffed, I often worked 7 days a week and I thrived on feeling constantly needed. I felt like the place couldn't run without me but in reality it was perhaps the other way around.
I would book vacations when I was feeling burned out. By then it was past the 'Take a day off to feel better' stage, and already in the zone of 'You need a week off. Now!'. I had some great vacations this way, but after the week off, I was back to full steam ahead.
But one of the best vacations I ever planned was for one that never happened.
Some friends wanted to go to London and invited me to go along. They had lived in London before and knew I had the travel bug. They organised jobs for us all through people they knew and we would live together in a flat. We all bought one-way tickets for in 10 month's time, with the plan to work for a few months and come home again. We didn't really tell anyone, as there was lots to think about and until we really knew what we were doing it wasn't worth sharing.
So for months I worked knowing my date visit London was coming up. I was more cautious with my finances, leave days and clothing purchases. Would I need new shorts in London? Probably not. Should I take that extra shift? Yeah, I could save the money. Why was that other person promoted above me? Well it didn't really matter because I would be leaving.
I didn't let the little things get to me. I knew when my next break was.
A couple months before our departure date, my friends came to me and said they didn't want to go anymore. They were sorry but they offered to give me some names of people I may be able to live with. Straight up I knew I wouldn't go without them. If I was planning on living overseas alone, it wouldn't be in London as a pub girl. So I let my non-refundable ticket go and continued with my life here as usual.
But I never regretted buying the ticket. I never regretted all the effort and planning that I had done. Why?
Well, having that ticket gave me a set date for when I would have my next break. I was excited about that vacation. I was looking forward to the change. I've never really cared for London as a destination, it was more about having a plan. And I had loved having one.
All the times I was frustrated with someone or something I used my upcoming trip as escapism to get me through it. And, for the thousand dollars I has used for the ticket, all I could think was that it was worth it.
For a thousand dollars, I had something like 8 months worth of clarity.
I doubt everyone would have experienced it this way, but I was happy. I hadn't moved house, quit my job or done anything drastic in preparation for London, so when it was cancelled, my life was fine. I was fine.
But I just moved on and planned my next vacation. In fact, after that time I really have always tried to know when my next vacation is. Even if it's just a couple annual leave days to myself.
Being a little stubborn, it's taken me years to grasp Work-Life Balance and what it means to me. I still don't really know. But I know that I always know when my next vacation is - or preferably next 2-3 vacations!
Breaks are not only important to take, but important to have scheduled.