The 5 Secrets of Great Vacations

At a company I once consulted with there was a manager, Brad, who would never think of taking a full week away from the office. "Much too much to do, and I don’t really need it anyway." He told me.

?When was the last time you did take off on a real vacation?" I once asked him.

?Heck, I can’t tell you. Got to be over six years." He said.

?Aren?t you burned-out?" I asked.

?Naw. I take three-day weekends occasionally, and there are holidays. I get by I guess." He answered.

On the other hand, a woman I’ve been coaching at the same company, Mirna, who is now a Top 20% closer, just last week got back from her first trip to Hawaii. She took her three kids and her husband, and last Wednesday she came back to the office and she looked like a new woman.

She was tanned, relaxed, excited and she was energized! She talked about the fun her kids had, about how incredible Maui was, and about how she couldn’t wait to go on her next trip!

Vacations are key to staying energized, focused, rested and motivated. And when you are energized and motivated, you perform better on your job and are happier overall. All work and no play make Jack, well, you know the story.

But just like in sales, there are guidelines and ?best practices" to ensure that you get the most out of your vacation. After years of perfecting the vacation, I offer, ?The 5 Secrets to Taking Great Vacations? — enjoy!

Secret #1 — Schedule and pay for your trips at least six months or more in advance.

Don’t wait till the last month to take a trip because it will never happen. You will always be too busy. By planning, scheduling and paying for your trips far in advance, you’re almost certain to actually take them.

July or November or March will always come and if you’ve already paid for a trip — you’re going!

Benefit: When you plan that far in advance, you get to look forward to it for months! It?s a great motivator.

Secret #2 — Go somewhere special.

Make a list right now of the six places you and your family with love to go to. And enlist their help! It’s a great family activity.

Then, pick one special or exotic places per year and — that’s right — book it now. Go ahead, buy the airfare, book the hotel and car and pay for it. And then, have everyone mark it on his or her calendars.

Benefit: Watch the attitude of your family change — for the better. Suddenly there’s something bright, fun and enjoyable you are all looking forward to. Gee, the kids sure are nice to be around again!

Secret #3 — Don’t return to work until Wednesday!

Even though you get back Saturday or Sunday, don’t go right back to the office. Give yourself time to readjust, run errands, and settle back in. Nothing ruins of good vacation more than going back to work the very next day. Vacation? What vacation?

Benefit: Taking the Monday and Tuesday off is like getting another ?bonus? vacation.

Secret #4 — Take at least one mini vacation per quarter.

Besides your one or two large vacations, plan to take at least one extended weekend, holiday or other four or five day break per quarter. Hitch a Friday and Tuesday onto a Memorial Day weekend, and voila! — you’ve got a bona fide vacation using just two personal days.

Try to go somewhere on at least two of these, and spend the others around the house getting things done or just relaxing.

But all the previous rules apply: plan, schedule, and pay for them advance!

Benefit: Even more to look forward to!

Secret #5 — Don’t work while on vacation.

Your vacation is exactly that — a vacation! Leave your laptop, blackberry, and paperwork at the office. Resist the temptation to check in with your office. This is your and your family’s time.

Train your sales manager, VP of sales, or assistant to handle all business while away. They will do fine without you, and it will all be there when you return.

Benefit: You will actually feel like you’re on vacation, and you?ll enjoy it even more!

So there you have it — the 5 Secrets to Great Vacations. I guarantee that if you follow these rules, you will not only enjoy your life more, but you’ll be more productive at work as well.

Imagine that — more successful and happier!

When?s your next vacation?