Tips on Not Letting Work Ruin Your Vacation

We all do it; we work on vacation. We plan gorgeous getaways and find ourselves stealing moments here and there to check an email or compose a fresh piece or fine tune a presentation (having just returned from two vacations with laptop in hand, I’m as guilty as can be about doing this). We say we won’t, but our guilt, our desire to stay ahead and our drive make it impossible for some of us to leave work at home for a much needed vacation.

Guess what? Vacation isn’t lazy. Vacation is essential. Everyone needs time away from the office to rejuvenate and relax. Work is great, drive is great, and ambition is great; but burn out is not. If you don’t take a break from time to time, you’re going to burn out (I managed to put my computer down from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon last weekend and it felt great!). Here are a few tips that are going to help you ensure that work does not interfere with and/or ruin your vacation.

Put Yourself in Place

Even though we all like to think we are the center of the universe and it is going to come crashing down if we aren’t in the office (or connected to wi-fi) for a few days, no one is that important. Trust your employees/boss/colleagues to get their own jobs done and live without you for a few moments. It helps to remember that even your boss takes vacation from time to time, and he or she probably doesn’t want to deal with work at that time, either.

Work Ahead

The great thing about vacation is that it’s usually something you have a little notice about. You don’t usually book a flight for tomorrow today. Since you have a few weeks, at least, it’s a good idea to work ahead. Do the things that can be done in advance. Notify people who need to know. The more you do before you go, the less you have to worry about doing when you’re gone or when you return.

Turn On Your Out of Office Notification

There’s a certain guilt in realizing you have an email that needs your attention that you forgot about or didn’t see at first. When you’re on vacation, try to remember to turn on your out of office response so that anyone trying to get in touch with you via email is sent this message and not worried that you don’t get back to them right away. Put down your out of office dates so that people are aware of when they can expect a response from you.

Plan for the Unexpected

Sometimes things do come up and it’s not something you can control. Plan ahead for this by delegating only one person to contact you in case of emergencies to prevent your phone/text/email from going crazy while you’re on vacation. You can even let your colleagues know that if they really need you, these hours are best (it’s hard to work when you’re sunning yourself on the beach).

Don’t Panic

The most important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t panic or feel guilty about going on vacation. It’s going to help you be more productive and focused when you return to the office. Your boss isn’t going to start thinking you’re not all that important when you’re gone. In fact, he or she is going to realize just how vital you are to the inner workings of the team when you’re gone.

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)


Leave a Reply