Vacations are vital because they offer a change of pace—which can yield a change of perspective. Far too often, our daily life is dominated by our ongoing tasks and the next pressing deadline. Higher Education adds unique pressures with the crunch time that the academic year brings. When we are living from one crisis to another, we seldom slow down, step back, and consider our priorities and goals.

Time away frees us from the constraints of our schedule.The room to breathe enables us to celebrate the aspects of our career that are rewarding and the areas that are sapping our joy.

When it’s time for your next vacation, completely unplug. Don’t think about work on your vacation. And when you come back, harness the refreshment and distance through focused reflection. Take 1 hour with a notebook or fresh Word Doc and answer these journaling prompts:

  1. What am I excited to jump back into?
  2. What tasks do I avoid or dread?
  3. What are possible options to address these areas (E.g. reallocate tasks, gain new skills, alter approaches)?
  4. What are my long-term career goals?
  5. How can I take one tangible step toward my career goals?
  6. Who is one colleague I’d like to reconnect with?