If Taking a Vacation = Work Stress, It’s Your Own Damn Fault

by Bluewater Advisory

July 14, 2020

“I just got back to work after vacation, and need another vacation!”

So here we are, the weekend after 4th of July weekend, and I feel obligated to leverage some basic business principles I had the opportunity to share with three different managers and executives this week.  And the point is – if you feel like you need a vacation after going back to work after vacation, it’s your own damn fault.  Bear with me now and I’ll unpack this thought as efficiently as I can.

Unfortunately, well-meaning managers experience an increased level of anxiety:

  • Just before they leave for vacation due to the frantic pace of preparing for their work responsibilities to be covered while they are away, and
  • as they return to work after vacation to an overflowing in-box and fires to put out.

Respectfully – as I pointed out to three clients this past week – there is a simple three-part approach you can take to reduce the above stress in the future:

  1. Improve your planning. In our coaching at Bluewater, we always recommend taking some time each week to look both 6-weeks out as well as 6-months out.  Look at your calendar, your commitments, KPI’s and committed milestones (as well as your upcoming vacation schedule) and begin to put the tasks on your calendar that are needed to plan for a smoother vacation exit and reentry.
  2. Improve your delegating. Use your forward-thinking time to delegate those tasks, client commitments and decisions that either 1) will come up while you are away and 2) could come up.  Rank the importance of the task or decision and decide what to delegate and to whom, then provide the appropriate time for off-ramping.  This is also a terrific time to give a “high-pot” riser on your team a little more, to see how they rise to the challenge while you are away.  Always, remember, however, you can delegate authority but not responsibility.  Plan and execute your delegation wisely.
  3. Honor your autoreply. If you go on vacation and still tend to your e-mails and other messages,  then you are crashing and burning on numbers 1 and 2 above, sending a message you do not trust your team to handle things without you, and creating anxiety that is indeed, your own damn fault.


Be your best,