What does vacation mode have to do with prioritization?
I have to admit that I don’t remember where I read the actual term “vacation mode” for the first time but suffice it to say I did not invent it. We could even call it the “vacation phenomenon”. I know most think of “vacation mode” as that feeling of being on vacation and that’s not what I mean here…but whatever you want to call it, I am capitalizing on it now and it also just came up in a discussion in virtual coworking in the inner circle. PLUS, the great news is you don’t need a postponed wedding to use this trick…So let’s get to it. 💪
Vacation mode is that week or those days leading up to a vacation where you know you won’t be working or even possibly have the ability to work and all the sudden you go from “which of these tasks should be done first, second, third, etc.” to “before vacation vs. after vacation”and you become a master of prioritization.
That’s right, everyone reading this has a Prioritization Ninja (I picture 🐱👤) somewhere inside of us and he or she awakens the minute we know we are taking time off. Think about it. Think about the last trip you took and how you likely got better and better at prioritizing what did and did not need to be done before you closed your laptop and headed off into the sunset the closer you got to the vacation.
Here’s the thing though, we can call on Prioritization Ninja to come help us any time we want and here’s how.
First, you need a fake vacation.
Your fake vacation can be simply ending work at 6 pm or it can be the weekend as a few examples. If you are someone who tends to allow work to bleed into every aspect of your life going to dinner with friends and returning home to keep working, then you may have to kickstart this with a REAL vacation.
Your real vacation can even be a staycation, but it sometimes helps people for it to be irregular to create a mental pattern interrupt (after all, 6 pm comes daily and weekends come like clockwork every week). So, you might need to take a Monday and Tuesday off or Monday and Wednesday, etc.
Second, you have to commit.
You have to commit in just the same way you’d be committed if you got on a plane. Please tell me you aren’t the person paying $20 to get internet for a 2-hour flight so you can keep working. If that’s you, we have bigger fish to fry.
If you almost broke into a cold sweat when you read step 2…hurry to step 3.
Third, choose a timeframe that gives you time to plan ahead.
You wouldn’t plan a vacation a week from now, right? You need time to get your ducks in a row and hire a cat sitter (just me?). So do the same thing here. Give yourself time to reorganize things so you can leave those few days or even a whole week (gasp!) full of white space. If you choose a timeframe and it already feels like you’ll have to hurry, it’s too soon. And of course, the more days off you’re taking, the longer you’ll need to plan, again, just like a vacation.
A lot of business owners are convinced that if they aren’t refreshing their email every .000056 nanoseconds they’ll go bankrupt. You probably laughed at that exaggeration and then refreshed your email, didn’t you? I was one of those business owners, so I get it. I promise. 🙂 No judgement here!
If for you not working past 6 pm instills fear in you, start with ending work ONE day, two weeks from now at 8 pm. If that seems ridiculous and you’re thinking “who is working until 8 pm?!” then take a whole day off or a half day. You get the idea (I hope — if not, comment and let’s keep chatting about this!).
Watch the magic.
The closer you get to the big day (or week) the better your Prioritization Ninja will work. It’s ok to be a bit stressed for a small period of time right before, especially if you have a hard time taking time off. Remember, it’s temporary.
I take weekends off regularly. Occasionally, I work them. It used to be very much the reverse until I realized it was not sustainable, EVEN though I loved my work. My Prioritization Ninja clocks in every Friday around 10 or 11 AM and then we both leave at 5 or 6.
There’s a good (by good, I mean close to 100%) chance you’ve already met your Prioritization Ninja…but maybe it’s time to get reacquainted.
So, let’s hear it — What is your plan to activate your Prioritization Ninja? 👇