Few people can take a vacation on the fly. When you’re fresh out of college with few responsibilities, no kids and money to burn, dropping things at the last second for an impromptu getaway may be doable – maybe. But for most of us, in order to take a vacation, we need to plan in advance.
Just the idea of planning a summer vacation is enough to make some people second guess going out of town. In fact, a recent MasterCard-commissioned survey found that 89 percent of people said their stress levels increase when planning for a vacation. This doesn’t mean we should avoid planning for vacation – taking time off is essential for busy professionals. If you follow The ONE Thing blog you may remember that we discussed how vacation deprived workers are often more stressed and less productive. With that in mind, scheduling time off is a good idea for the sake of your career and sanity!
Make taking a relaxing vacation to recharge your batteries your ONE Thing this summer, and avoid stressful planning by making it a priority through time blocking.
Time Blocking Strategies for Planning a Relaxing Summer Vacation
Want to plan a vacation like a project manager? Time blocking isn’t just for the workplace. Consider incorporating the following time blocking tips into your vacation planning routine as well.
Take Time to Plan
Spread your vacation planning out over an extended period of time so you don’t feel overwhelmed or stressed. Start at least a month out, and time block vacation planning for 30 to 60 minutes, one or two days a week so your planning is done in more manageable chunks.
Start Your Day with Vacation Planning
Block 30 minutes in the morning to do your vacation planning. In the morning there are less distractions and your energy levels are higher. Envisioning your vacation time before the start of the workday can also increase your motivation to get more done on the job.
Time Block for Transportation Planning First
According to the same MasterCard survey we referenced earlier, the most stressful aspect of vacation planning is figuring out how you will get there. If you’re among the 57 percent of people that stress over arranging flights and rental cars, time block for knocking the transportation dominos over first. Once you’ve accomplished your transportation goals, you can enjoy planning the rest of the vacation.
Schedule a Consistent Vacation Planning Time
Time block your vacation planning at the same times each day or day of the week. That way you can form a habit around your vacation planning, which will make it harder to skip or set aside when other things begin competing for your time.
Time Block Your Work Projects to Increase Productivity
You can get everything in line for your vacation, but if lingering work tasks and to-dos are hanging over your head, stress can invade your time off. Time blocking all your major tasks and tightly prioritizing projects will help increase productivity in the weeks leading up to your vacation.
Time Block for Downtime
In the MasterCard survey 49 percent of people said they stress about planning their vacation itinerary. The truth of the matter is that trying to take everything in by overloading your itinerary is going to make our vacation feel like work. Make things easier during the planning phase and less stressful while on vacation by scheduling yourself some downtime. At least once every two days of your vacation, block out half a day for free time.
People surveyed say the ONE Thing that’s more stressful than planning a vacation is not having a plan at all. Time blocking can make the process simpler by helping you prioritize your already busy schedule so that vacation planning can be factored in without increasing stress.