Administrator’s note: thanks to Erin Cowling for this week’s tip.
We all know that taking a real vacation makes us less stressed, more focused, and in return, better lawyers, better employees, and better bosses. Even though I love my job, I still need a break from it. I need to unplug and unwind. I need to think about something other than the law. When I do, I return to my practice with more energy and commitment.
When I worked for someone else, I always took all my allotted vacation. I felt I was working hard and I rightly deserved the time off. Now that I have my own practice and business and can, in theory, take as much vacation time that I want, I take even less. I need to change that.
So, here is what I have learned, and what may help to ensure that you and I take our important vacations:
- Book the vacation time into your calendar in advance. Block off your 2020 vacation days now. Not nailing down the time off makes it easier to push back that much needed break.
- Take at least two weeks off. For me, one week is not enough to get the “law” out of my system and to unwind.
- Plan financially, especially for those of us who are sole practitioners or have our own businesses. If we don’t work, we don’t get paid. Factor your vacation time into your financial plan for the year. (In other words, don’t let money be an excuse to not take time off).
- Have someone cover your practice so you aren’t working on your vacation.
- Fiercely protect your time. Practice saying “No”. Say “No” to that meeting they want to schedule on your day off. Say “No” to that “quick” conference call while you are on vacation. And then provide an alternative date for when you are back in the office, relaxed and ready to work!
The bottom line: We need to give ourselves permission to take a break and forget about law for a while. We will be better lawyers if we do. Don’t make the same mistake I did.
[This tip was adapted with permission from Erin Cowling’s post, “My Biggest Mistake this Year…“]