My team is quite fond of teasing me about my “vacations.” It may be because I take them sporadically to random locations, or more likely because I never actually stop working when I’m on one. I blame this solely on my previous job, as I was never able to completely disconnect because I was the only one in the office – it’s kind of hard to leave things to “someone else” when there is no someone else!
I’ve had to learn to delegate and just trust that things will go smoothly when I’m away for a few days. I’m one of those people who has to have a handle on everything going on and I have hard time letting go, so this is always a challenge.
I’ve recently found a good balance between work and play that lets me take vacations pretty much whenever I have any to take. I like to call it a “Working Vacation” and it works like this:
- Schedule the hours you won’t be “playing” while your on vacation (like 8AM through Noon) and stick to that schedule as best as you can. Mornings are more productive for me, so I like those hours.
- Give your boss an emergency way to reach you in case of, well, an emergency.
- Let your team know that you’ll be available during specific times for calls, only if needed, and stick to those hours. This only works if you have a working phone on you, so plan for this if you say you’ll be available by phone. Google phone numbers work well for this, as well as Vonage – both will email you the voice mail message and a text version.
- If team meetings are necessary, schedule them when it’s convenient – not in the middle of mealtimes or happy hour – and use Google Hangout or Skype.
- Stop answering emails after your designated work hours. This is the hardest one for me, as I always feel the impulse to have my inbox at zero.
- If you feel it’s necessary, check your email before heading to bed to be prepared for the next morning’s workload, if you have one. If you’re not scheduled to work the next day, let the emails go.
- Don’t think about work when you’re at play – that’s what those designated hours are for.
This only works if you make it work and, of course, you have the luxury of taking “Working Vacations.” And having an awesome boss helps too.
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