When first starting out a career or job many people have pretty limited PTO. I personally have 2 weeks of PTO that includes my sick days. In order to not use up all of my time at once I have come up with a few things that help me manage taking time off. One of the other things that makes managing my time off more difficult than some is that I end up taking more time off to travel during the holidays since my family is not around the area. If you also don’t have a lot of vacation time and have to travel to see family, here are the things I do to help me maximize my PTO.
- I never take vacations that go from Monday to Friday. I always structure my time off around a weekend so I can have 5 days off while only taking 3 vacation days. It could be tempting to still take Monday through Friday off because you get the weekend before and after off, but I just find that unnecessary to do unless I am taking some really cool trip.
- If jet lag really affects you this next trick may not be the best idea but it does work for me. When I am leaving to go on vacation I like to take a later flight if it is available. This past vacation I took a 7:15 PM flight. This allowed me to still go to work during the day. I did have to leave work a little early but I was able to make up that time by staying late the day before and taking a shorter lunch. This way I didn’t have to take time off for a travel day.
- I really make an effort to truly take care of my self in order to avoid taking a sick day. I used to not really drink Emergen-C but ever since I started my job I drink it at the sign of even the slightest soar throat. A box of it is kept both at my desk and at my apartment. There may more to it than just drinking Emergen-C and not getting sick but I’ve managed to not take a single sick day in a year and a half.
- As much as I would love to visit my family for every major holiday sometimes it’s just not realistic. Last year my family visited me for Thanksgiving so I didn’t have to take a ton of time off around that time. This year they weren’t able to visit during that time and I ended up deciding to stay in Dallas even though part of me felt weird about it. It ended up working out just fine and I still had a good Thanksgiving as you can read about in one of my previous posts. This allowed me to come to Seattle for a decent amount of time around Christmas and I’ve been able to visit with both family and friends instead of just family.
- A couple times I have won random passes to get off of work at 1 or 2pm. A lot people used theirs pretty quickly. Since I don’t have a lot of other time to take off I made sure to save them for a time when I really would appreciate having that available. During the summer one of my friends decided to visit me and I still had one of those passes 9 months after winning it. I was very happy that I had not used it before then just to be able to have some free time. This made it possible for me to show her around the city without having to take a ton of time off.