What comes to mind when you hear those words, “take your time”? Maybe you think of “slow down” or “pay careful attention”. I had a different meaning in mind when I thought about this blog, however, I think “slow down” and “pay careful attention” fit the bill here, too. I’m talking about taking your vacation time.
I recently took two weeks off from work. This is something I started last year and was fortunate enough to do again this year. I turned 52 on April 18th, and have been in my current career for just over twenty-two years, twelve of those as a state employee. I used to feel guilty about taking time off and leaving my coworkers to cover shifts without me there to help. You know what I realized? They don’t feel bad about taking time off and leaving me there. So, in October of 2017 I told myself, “Self…if you wait to take time off only when you have somewhere to go, you’ll never take any time off.” I got to thinking about my work schedule, the fact that my wife is now retired, we are empty nesters and able to take some short-term trips, and I sat down with the calendar for 2018 and started planning my time off. I sat down in October of last year and did the same thing.
Before I go into my plan, I need to clarify some things. I work twelve-hour shifts, which breaks down to about fifteen or sixteen nights a month (anyone who works twelves knows how this works). One week I work Monday, Tuesdays and Friday-Sunday. The next week I only work Wednesday and Thursday. And the weeks alternate like that, so I have every other Friday-Sunday off. During the short weeks (only work Wednesday and Thursday) I can take those two days off and be off seven days. The way it works out I only work about six months out of the year, so I tell people I’m “semi” retired lol! I crack myself up sometimes.
Call it vacation, staycation, playcation or whatever else you want to call it. To me it’s a mental, as well as physical health getaway. Here’s my time off schedule.
One week in January, February and March
Two weeks in April (birthday month)
One week in May
No time off during the summer months, so my coworkers can have vacation time with their kids and families (we’re no longer at the mercy of school schedules since my wife retired, and can take off whenever we want)
One week in September
Two weeks in October (anniversary month)
No time off in November and December so coworkers can spend the holidays with their families (our families are close so we don’t have to travel anywhere to be with them)
I know my plan is unique to me and not everyone has that much time to take, or may be limited to when you can take your time off, due to kids’ school schedules, or spouse’s work schedule, as examples. My point is, if you’ve got the time, “Take Your Time”. If you’ve got a yard project you have been wanting to get done, take some time off and do it. Or at least get a great start on it. And it’s time off that you are working to accrue, so don’t feel guilty about taking it off. I know guys who never miss the opening day of hunting season. They’re in the woods or on the water before the sun comes up. They’ve been doing it right for a long time. Now it’s my time to take my time, slow down and pay attention – to me.