Learn to Clock Out On Time This Summer
By: Nicole Hudson, Career Mastered Magazine Contributor
Summer is here and with it, long sunny days and warm nights–days and nights that you might spend slogging away on your computer if you don’t learn how to clock out and enjoy the summer.
If you are like me and juggle many roles and responsibilities, it can be hard to get away and enjoy the summer. And if you are passionate about your work and really love what you do, it becomes even more difficult to get off the clock early on a sunny afternoon and just go hang out with friends, no matter how much you love them.
We’ve all seen the ugly effects of burnout on colleagues, and to be honest, probably on ourselves, too. We know the importance of taking a break. But it’s still difficult to do when you are thinking, I’ll just check this email, or do a quick once-over on this client presentation. Meanwhile, family, friends and good times are passing us by.
Here are some tips I’ve learned to clock out and start enjoying the summer.
Give yourself permission
Treat yourself with the same compassion and consideration you give your staff. If your assistant asked to leave early to go on a family outing, you’d say yes, and then tell them to have fun and not worry about work.
Do the same thing for yourself.
As the founder of Hudson Collective, I have a lot of duties and responsibilities and I need to grant myself permission to take some time off. Just this simple mind shift makes it easier to leave at noon and enjoy the afternoon with my daughter at the zoo. If there’s nothing that can’t wait, go ahead and tell yourself yes.
Have an unconventional summer
Many of us grew up with parents that worked a traditional nine-to-five schedule, and as much as we’ve tried to banish those rigid rules and work structures, some of it is embedded in our DNA.
It’s hard to break the cycle.
But there’s no better time to bust out of that routine than the summer.
I’ll take advantage of long sunny days by doing some work early in the morning, then leaving in the afternoon to splash around in the pool with my family, then clock in later to catch up on email, finish tasks, and get caught up.
This “in and out” approach may be unconventional to some people, but there’s plenty of evidence that shows that taking breaks from work in the middle of the day spurs creativity and production.
Prioritize what needs to get done and knock that out first thing, so your mind is free to have some fun. Obviously, I’m available when clients need me, but I find clients appreciate a relaxed approach in the summer, too.
Trust your staff
I put a lot of effort into hiring talented people who are excellent at what they do. They are self-directed and know how to get things done without me looking over their shoulder.
What does that mean for summer fun? It means that I can take time away from work and trust that things are getting done.
Empowering your staff is essentially empowering yourself. When staff knows what to do and have the tools to do it, it means that you can take off every Friday and go to the lake, or take that mid-week trip with your partner. If something comes up, you know they’ll be in touch, but otherwise, you are free to enjoy your summer.
Plan to make memories while the sun shines
This moment in time is unique. Your children will never be this age again. This summer will never happen again. Don’t leave the opportunity to make memories with your family and friends to chance. Make a plan to spend time together.
Those plans look different for every situation. Travel is a passion of mine—it’s how I get new ideas and perspectives, recharge and relax. To make it happen, I block out the time months ahead.
Is it 100% vacation? Nope. I am still in touch with my clients and my people, but that’s so much easier in today’s world of Zoom and digital workplaces. What it does allow me is time to explore cities with my family and make memories together.
The point is, if you don’t plan it, it doesn’t happen. So, schedule that trip, plan that long weekend, invite those friends over. It’s the only way it will happen.
I know that life will get more hectic as my daughter gets older and wants to hang out more with friends and less with mom. I’m planning to make those special memories now.