By Aaron Weiss
Summer is my favorite season, by far. I was born in July, and suspect my expectations were immediately set to a warm climate. Since summer is so important to me, I am very protective of my leisure time, and have weekends, vacations, and holidays locked up like a Chick-Fil-A on a Sunday. Now, despite all the fun and freedom, there is a dark side to summer. It’s your old pal Work.
Around our office, we fantasize every spring that after an intense start to the year, things will lighten up once the summer comes around. Guess what? It never works out that way, mostly because our business model is designed to keep us fully utilized all year long. Or at least until the winter holidays when the whole world becomes distracted.
To be fair, it’s not work, per se, that’s an issue during the summer. To be more precise, it’s time. If our workload remains constant, summer challenges us to find time to do the same amount of work in fewer days and hours. When we’re working, there is often an added sense of urgency and intensity. There’s also the challenge of coordinating with colleagues, clients, and vendors who are less available, too.
So, here are a few adaptations to avoid the pitfalls of summer and to maximize all the best the season has to offer:
Let others know when you’re going to be away. Many of us are inclined to be discreet about the use of vacation, but trying to be inconspicuous can create confusion, which ultimately brings more attention to your absence. Give your counterparts notice, and even have them mark their calendars to eliminate surprises.
Build in more time than you think you’ll need to get work done. Work is unpredictable, and rarely goes according to schedule. Rather than risk leaving your family, friends, or pets waiting for you, build in the luxury of a little extra time.
Share your summer joy with others. While gloating about how large and fresh the lobsters were for an hour might be excessive, don’t keep all of your vacation stories to yourself. We often discover new and exciting things during the summer, and these sharing your experiences gives your colleagues a different appreciation for who you are and what you’re about.
Take a vacation from the vacation. Time away from the office can be intense, exhausting, and stressful. If only getting there and back. Some recovery is needed after all of the activity, travel, consumption, and socializing. Don’t expect to return to work feeling 100% refreshed your first day back. As best you can, ease your way back into work so that all the benefits of your vacation are not lost in day.