Every year around this time I receive a email providing me details about how many excess vacation hours I have that will automatically roll over to sick leave. I immediately start panicking about where I’m going to fit this time in and, ultimately, the hours roll over into sick leave. In the midst of this cycle I begin brainstorming all of the ways I’ll make sure this doesn’t happen in the future and, while I typically have great plans, another year rolls around and I find myself in the same situation. While I recognize that I am privileged to have this type of problem, I seriously wonder how people use their excess vacation time throughout the year.
Since I am naturally inquisitive, I decided do some research to see how others tackle this issue and thought I’d share for other “vacation hour hoarders”, like myself. Here were some great ideas I plan to try:
- Get involved with a project. Find a cause that you’re passionate about and spend time working on it. We recently completed vacation bible school and on hindsight I realized that would have been a great way to contribute my time and talents to something I care about. Throughout the year there may be initiatives you can get involved with and completely focus on.
- Elevate your side hustle. These days it seems everyone has a side hustle, whether it’s consulting, selling nail polish, or being a blogger :). When I was in college I remember taking time off to work on big projects. The same can apply to your career. Use vacation time to invest in yourself and elevate your side hustles.
- Be a kid again. Doesn’t this sound great? My approach to free time either requires something kid-friendly or not, because my decision is typically based on whether or not my children are attending. My oldest son always reminds me that in addition to being his mother, I’m also someone’s child (he’s an old soul). While big vacations are nice, another great option is to revisit your childhood and have a great time at places such as theme parks while crowds are small (while kids are in school).
- Visit an old friend. How many times have you and an old friend talked about how you don’t see each other enough and that you really should plan to get together, but it never happens. Let’s face it, life is real and our time fills up quickly. Why not take some time to nurture important relationships in your life? I don’t believe that daily contact is necessary to ensure a quality friendship, but only good times come from random quality time with those you care about.
The moral of the story is don’t be like me. Use your vacation in ways that make most sense to you and if encourage “vacation hour hoarders” (like me) to get out there and live life! Hopefully this time next year, we’ll a follow up with better results.
What are some fun ways you use vacation hours throughout the year?