The Importance of Taking Time Off and Getting a Break from Work

August 2014 - Picture from my vacation to Kona, Hawaii (with beautiful skyline thanks to Hurricane Iselle)

August 2014 – Picture from my vacation to Kona, Hawaii (with beautiful skyline thanks to Hurricane Iselle)

By Kristina Schneider, Executive Assistant

The concept of taking time off of work or stepping away from work seems like an obvious one, but for those that are super-dedicated to their job, this can actually be a difficult task to do sometimes. It took me some time, but it was something that I had to learn over a number of years of going full-steam, with very little to no breaks.

I can recall when I was first hired by Phil back in 2004, I was an eager, freshly graduated college student. There were a lot of details to my job and, being the perfectionist that I was, I could not seem to find a way to get all of the work assigned to me done Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 5pm. I found myself staying late a lot of days and even coming in for the better part of Saturday. I did this for a number of years and I started to feel the effects of doing this week in and week out.

The first thing I did was I stopped working on weekends. I found that, while I logically felt like I was doing more when I worked on the weekends and thought that I would be able to get more stuff done, I wasn’t really doing anything worth giving up an entire day of my weekend. Sure, things were quiet. The interruptions were dramatically lower (if not non-existent). But, the reality was that I still did not have enough time with almost 6 days of work per week dedicated to my job. I learned that there was never going to be enough time to get everything done and that it was part of my job to prioritize my daily tasks and get the stuff that had to get done between 8:30am and 5pm, Monday through Friday. Anything else would have to wait.

The effect of this was that I felt far less stressed at my job and I came to work on Monday much more refreshed and ready to work. I had two days to relax, do what I needed to do for myself to recharge my batteries, have fun, and enjoy life. And it made me happier at work and with my job – – so I actually got more done during the work week!

The second thing that I did was something that did not come as a realization of my own. It was something that my associate, Megan, had to point out to me shortly after she started working for us back in 2011. I had put my work e-mail onto my personal cell phone. I felt that it was helpful to have this on my phone because people were getting answers right away and our customer service was nothing but superb! I also thought that it mentally helped me to come into the office in the morning and not have 10 to 15 e-mails piled up that needed responding to. However, what I realized is that most people that e-mail for work items don’t expect a response right away. Most things can wait. Most people know that we’re open from 8:30am to 5pm and that they can call and reach someone then if they need a quicker response.

I am the semi-OCD type of person that doesn’t like to see a little red bubble alert on my phone that there’s e-mail that haven’t been opened. I found myself married to my phone and thus tied to the hip (almost literally!) to my job. So, I decided to take Megan up on her suggestion to remove my work e-mail from my phone and see what happened.

Again, the result was that I was much more relaxed, refreshed, and my stress level was reduced because I no longer had to think about work non-stop. And people were still being serviced first thing when we got in. And guess what? Nobody complained or was unhappy. The fact of the matter was, nobody expected an immediate response to begin with.

With my two days on the weekend and my cell phone relieved of work e-mail duties, this leaves me with the last point—take your vacation days.

A lot of people don’t take time off from work and even I can sometimes find it hard to take my vacation days. I had this mentality that if I wasn’t going anywhere or doing something special, then why bother taking the time off. The fact is, vacation days aren’t necessarily reserved for destination vacations. Take some time off every 3 to 4 months to just get some rest, take care of yourself, and give yourself a break. Provided that you plan for your time out accordingly, your boss and the rest of the office will be just fine. Despite what you might think otherwise, the office will survive.

In summary, it’s important that you take care of yourself. You will truly do yourself and your company a disservice when you run yourself into the ground, because that’s how people become unhappy, negative, stressed out, and even physically ill, which is never a good result for anyone.

With all of that, I leave you with this question: What will you change to start taking better care of yourself?


By popular demand, we are now offering Executive Assistant Training for Executive Assistants!  During an Executive Assistant Training Session, we will be able to cover an array of best practices for Executive Assistants and assist your Executive Assistant with advice on the following areas:

  • Calendar Management
  • Prioritizing Tasks
  • Managing Interruptions
  • Handling Difficult Clients
  • Organizing Your Office Space
  • Writing Proper Business Correspondence
  • Maintaining Confidentiality
  • Hiring and Training Other Staff
  • Developing a Procedures Manual
  • And much, much more!

Think about it…if your Executive Assistant was able to free you up to get more done and functioning at the highest and best use of your time, how much would that be worth to you?  If you could meet one more client each day, would that be worth it? If it took some stress off your plate so you could sleep at night a little easier, would it be worth it?  If you said yes to any of these questions, then sign up your Executive Assistant for our Executive Assistant Training today!

For more information, click here.


Kristina Schneider is the current Executive Director of The Ultimate Estate Planner, Inc.  She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine University in 2004 and was hired right out of college to work for the Law Firm of Kavesh, Minor & Otis, coordinating and facilitating Philip Kavesh’s “Missing Link” Boot Camps while also providing administrative support to Mr. Kavesh as his Executive Assistant for over seven years.  Through her direct hands-on experience in Mr. Kavesh’s law firm, Kristina has been able to assist numerous estate planning professionals through The Ultimate Estate Planner and, equally as important, many of their staff members, in the successful implementation of Ultimate Estate Planner’s products and systems. You can reach Kristina at (424) 247-9495 or by e-mail at


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