Listen up! You need to use your PTO. I know what you’re thinking, “But Kristin, blah blah blah I can’t.” You’re wrong. If your employer provides you with PTO days, you should use them ESPECIALLY if they don’t carry over or get paid out to you.
What if they think I’m not a hard worker
I’m sure you are one. It’s likely your boss and employer know that. Hard workers need a break too. A lot of times people with a strong work ethic will push themselves to the point of burnout. If you haven’t heard about burnout, you can read where I share a little bit of my recent experience with it HERE. Let me tell you, it’s absolutely miserable. Save yourself the suffering and take the time you need to rest.
I really don’t mind working
You may not mind working, but chances are your family or friends do. Have you gone on vacation or visited family and someone is zoned in on their phone or computer the whole time? It’s super annoying. It also can make others feel like you don’t want to be there and present with them.
No one knows how to do my job
This is going to sound harsh, but that isn’t really your problem. I know it can be hard to accept that when you’re a team player. If you’re concerned that going on PTO will leave your team hanging, there are a few things you can do to ensure that your absence won’t be a burden on your coworkers or customers.
- Create training documents: Honestly, I think this should be a priority for every person once they have a clear understanding of and high level of skill in their jobs. You can either screen record your tasks with commentary or create a written document with screenshots. Either way, the person who needs to cover for you will love it.
- Prioritize: Whenever a member of my team goes on vacation, we have a meeting where we outline priorities. The most important tasks get assigned to another team member who has either done the task before or who understands the training documents that exist. Anything deemed a low priority can wait until the person returns.
- Compromise: Sometimes a full day of PTO isn’t doable. I hate to admit that because I am a huge advocate for people taking their full time off. I work on a team of two right now and I won’t feel good taking a full week of work off next month knowing that all of my work has to be done by my boss, who also has a full plate right now. How we compromise is that I will do roughly 2 hours of work each day to cover any emergencies. (I’d only recommend this option if you’re going on a multi-day vacation.)
- Prepare: Preparation can save you a lot of stress when you’re out on PTO, especially for more than a few days. Get as much of your work done in advance as you can. Set expectations with your team and anyone else you work with. If you’re only going to work set hours, tell them. Only give your cell phone out to the people that absolutely need it for emergency situations.
How do I use my PTO if I’m stuck at home?
A large number of us are stuck at home right now, which makes it harder to justify PTO. If we can justify it, we are then left with the daunting task of deciding how to spend our day since we can’t go anywhere. Here are a few suggestions from yours truly!
- Take a nap. Nap all day. It’s your life and you deserve it.
- Clean and organize. When our homes are in disarray our minds tend to match that.
- Play games with your friends or family. You can play board games with the people you live with or play games virtually. Some of my favorites are Jackbox Games and Cards Against Humanity, but there’s a ton of other ones out there!
- Work on one of your hobbies or side projects. Knit a sweater. Paint a picture of your dog. Start a blog. Build a table. Do something you love!
- If you’re fortunate enough to have a pool, even if it’s inflatable, please enjoy it for me. My apartment complex has chained the gates to our pool and I miss it dearly.
To sum everything up, please use your PTO. You deserve to use it and you need to take care of yourself. People won’t think less of you for taking the time for yourself. Make sure your work won’t fall apart when you leave by preparing yourself and everyone else for how things will be handled in your absence. Lastly, do what you love and live your best life!