Making the most of Holiday Time

Holiday time seems all too short. We all love vacation time, but are we making the most of them? This article looks at how to maximize your holiday time. Holiday time Save your holiday leisure time by considering the following:

1. Take your holiday leave

As odd as it may seem, many do not take their annual holiday leave or worse continue to work during their holiday leave. For example, 1 in 4 Australians have accured over 25 days of annual leave. The worse offenders tend to be males over 35 years of age on a high income. Some employees even ‘sell out’ their holidays for cash as highlighted in Ross Gittins article Leave is for the taking not selling. Holidays are important for recovery and recharging. To see a list of benefits from holidays refer to the No Leave No Life website.

2. Plan your work (or lack thereof)

Plan to leave your work at work. Many fall into the trap of taking work with them on holidays, regularly checking their work emails, and being available to take work calls. To avoid this and make more of your holiday consider the following:
  1. Prepare to handover your work to other staff. Write it down notes and arrange meeting(s) to handover over your work. Plan early so there are no loose ends. Plan your ‘exit strategy’.
  2. Avoid or minimise any checking of work emails while on leave.
  3. Make yourself unavailable for work. (Why? It is hard to really relax, knowing that work can ring you with problems any minute).
  4. Leave a message on your email saying you are not available. It might be a good idea to say your not available one day prior to your last day to give yourself time to clear your work.
  5. On your last work day (before holidays) plan to get out of the office on-time. I have frequently seen staff stay back very late on their last day trying to clear 'last minute' items.

3. Know what you want from your holiday

It seems obvious, but many don’t seem to get this. To make good use of your holiday time you need to know what you want (or don’t want) to do. Obviously holidays can be used for all sorts of purposes. For example - chilling out; spending time with family/friends; renovating the home; trying something new; learning something, visiting a new location, or a mixture of the above.

4. Plan your holiday time (before it starts)

If you fail to plan your holiday, you plan to ‘waste’ much of it. Portions of many holidays have been wasted or a big disappointment due to lack of planning. What many people do is plan large portions of their holiday while on holidays. In addition to wasting holiday time, they may end up: (i) missing out on doing things they want to do (e.g – all booked out), (ii) pay premium dollar. Last year, an excellent project managers I know was so busy with work that she failed to plan her own holidays. The result – she couldn’t do the holiday she wanted. Thankfully, she learnt from this, and flies out tomorrow on the holiday she should have taken 12 months ago. Some items to consider during planning:
  • When to take your holiday. Things to consider – when is a good time of year to travel? Is it peak season? Weather? Work conflicts? Are there any special events on at that time of year?
  • Where to go and what to do? We often find this the most difficult as there are so many options. In planning a recent trip to Vietnam and Cambodia I went through process of classifying places and activities as an ‘A’ (must see/do), ‘B’ (would like to see/do) or ‘C’ (low priority) and then structured the holiday to maximize the ‘A’s.
  • Deciding on a budget.
  • Advance bookings. By booking accommodation, flights, etc in advance you can relax more during your holidays and not consume holiday time trying to make last minute bookings. On the internet there are a host of great websites that facilitate this process.
  • Get the whole household involved in the planning process. Often planning is half the fun, and if everyone is involved the holiday is more likely to be a success.
  • Preparing a checklist to ensure you don’t forget items. Forgetting items can be such a time waster on holidays. I often start a checklist a week or so before the holiday and modify it as items come to mind.
  • Be ready for commute time. How much commute time will your holiday involve and what are you going to do during this time? For example – you may want to take reading, listening, viewing or playing material. I often take a pile of carefully selected book summaries to read on a commute. What will the kids do during the commute?
  • Ensure your documents are in order. For example - passport is still valid, travel insurance, visa applications. It is also a good idea to make copies of important documents and store separately from the originals. Don’t do what David (co-founder of CraveTime) once did. He discovered the day before an overseas trip that his passport has expired.

5. Learn how to pack well

When you are living out of a suitcase the importance of packing takes on a new dimension. We have covered the importance of checklists to ensure you don’t forget to pack items. Being able to pack well can help save time on a holiday. For more information – refer to Save Time Packing for Travel

6. Try something new

Time slows down when you expose yourself to new experiences and/or destinations. If you ‘repeat’ a previous holiday it will tend to go faster the second time around. According to Steve Taylor (author of “Making Times”) – “The more information we process – or the more mental content there is – the slower time goes. The less we process, the faster it goes. … When you undergo any new experience … it’s always much more real and intense than it becomes later, when the desensitizing mechanisms has acted on it”. Any thoughts on how you get more out of your limited holiday time? Related CraveTime articles


Planning is very important when it comes to spending a holiday. If not planned properly, it could ruin our entire holiday. Making a booking in advance can save a lot of trouble. The points above really help a lot in planning through a wonderful Holiday.
Contractor Software