The Millennial Way To Use All Your Vacation Days

Gary recently shared his three steps for using all your time off. The key? Planning. 

For some, planning time off for the year brings instant gratification. Not to mention the anticipation that builds and boost to your happiness. I'm guessing the gratification that comes from planning looks something like this...

For me, it's quite the opposite. No doubt you've heard of FOMO? Combine that with my millennial desire to seize the day (but not a day too soon), and planning for the year is anxiety-ridden. Instead of being Joe Cool above, I'm more like this....

While planning might work for Gary, it doesn't fly with my millennial lifestyle. Join me in throwing planning to the wind and make 2016 the year you use all your days off.

If stress begins to build, take a day.

HR managers believe that employees who use all of their vacation time are more productive in their jobs (77%) and perform at a higher level (75%).

If you have an important meeting, presentation, or deadline, make it a priority and then reward yourself with a day off afterwards. Stress can escalate quickly and time is just what you need to get your head screwed back on right. Just make sure you’ve communicated with your manager and direct colleagues, so your work is covered and you can truly enjoy the time to unwind.

If a limited-time opportunity arises, take a day.

Some things only come around once in a lifetime. How many times have you looked back on a missed opportunity and said “I wish I had...”? 

Speaking from experience, your carpe diem attitude will create the best memories. Just last month, I found myself with one day off remaining and the opportunity for a day-trip to NYC with my best friends to see the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Talk about the stars aligning. After covering my to-do list and getting the okay from my manager, it was Manhattan or bust.

Eighty-five percent of workers say that time off makes them happier. What are you waiting for?

If you have a three-day weekend, take a(nother) day.

You know the best way to enjoy a long weekend? MAKE IT A LONGER WEEKEND. Three reasons:

  • You maximize your downtime. Two four day weeks in a row? Sign me up.
  • You can go somewhere further away and travel time won't eat into your leisure time.
  • You give yourself a buffer to do your weekend chores (laundry, meal prep, #adulting)


If you're going to spend 2016 taking a FOMO-avoiding, YOLO-loving approach to your time off, there's one thing you need to do. 

Track your days! 

Look up how many days you earn. Write it on a post-it for your desk, in a Google doc, or a note on your iPhone... however you want to do it, just do it. As you use time off, update the note with what remains. It will help you avoid taking too much time or forfeiting time at the end of the year.

January 20, 2016