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American Association for Physician Leadership
American Association for Physician Leadership

Reduce the Stress of Taking Vacation Time

by Harvard Business Review

April 30, 2019


Read some strategies to help you handle the workplace stress of going on vacation.

Some of us worry about taking time off, but these four tips can help you relax and just go.

For many workers, it’s easy to leave vacation time on the table. Some believe their workload is too heavy or that no one could do their job while they were gone. Here are some strategies to help you handle the stress (and go on vacation).

Plan ahead: When leveraged correctly, going on a vacation can offer a tremendous incentive to get projects done — but you need to plan for it. Block out time on your calendar to complete must-do items. Plan to complete these items at least a week before you actually leave.

Partner with peers: Reach out to your co-workers a week or more in advance to make them aware of what you will need, such as taking care of a specific responsibility or keeping an eye on certain projects. Write up any deadlines and deliverables, as well as contact information for key internal and external stakeholders, clients and yourself while you’re away.

RELATED: How to Disconnect While on Vacation and Plan for an Easier Return

Decide to wait: Once you’ve figured out what you will do before leaving on vacation and what can be handled while you’re away, clarify what you will not do until you return. Wait until three or four days before you leave to make the final call on what’s in or out.

Sign off: There may be good reasons why you may check in with work while you’re away, such as following up on a deal that’s about to close or responding to a time-sensitive item. But set limits.

Copyright 2018 Harvard Business School Publishing Corp. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate.

Harvard Business Review

Harvard Business Publishing (HBP) was founded in 1994 as a not-for-profit, wholly-owned subsidiary of Harvard University, reporting into Harvard Business School . Our mission is to improve the practice of management in a changing world. This mission influences how we approach what we do here and what we believe is important.

With approximately 450 employees, primarily based in Boston, with offices in New York City, India, and the United Kingdom, Harvard Business Publishing serves as a bridge between academia and enterprises around the globe through its publications and multiple platforms for content delivery, and its reach into three markets: academic, corporate, and individual managers. Harvard Business Publishing has a conventional governance structure comprising a Board of Directors , an internal Executive Committee , and Business Unit Directors.

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