Getting the Most From the Beach
You’ve worked bloody hard and soon it’ll be time to take your vacation. You’ve got it all mapped out…the resort, activities for the kids, an international data package for your mobile and your laptop…what could be missing? Well, likely lots. Working while on vacation can rob you of pretty much every benefit unless carefully planned.
I’ve often discussed the benefits of getting away from it all…stuff like improved creativity & performance, deepened bonds with loved ones and stress reduction. So is it really necessary for you to lug work with you? You know that your contribution is important but will the fate of the company hinge on you working or not?
Unplugged is nirvana
To really get the most from your escape, make it a real escape. Two weeks in advance, let your team and customers know that you will be unplugged until your return. This will give them time to get their questions or requests ready prior to your departure. Chances are that as soon as you let them know they’ll begin to pour on the requests for your time…it always seems to work this way. Let everyone know that you’re willing to put in a bit of extra time to make preparations for your departure, but once you’re gone, you’re gone. Stand your ground. My experience is that once this is made clear, everyone else adjusts. Now you are truly set for a clean, refreshing break from it all.
If unplugged isn’t an option
If you absolutely have to be in touch with folks back in the salt mine or have to crack some rocks while away, here are some rules that can help you and your loved ones get the most:
- Set designated times that you will put aside for work, such as every other morning from 7-10am. If you don’t set parameters, work will simply expand into whatever time is available.
- Be calm and certain. Setting specific times will provide you with a sense of relief knowing that work will get done instead of becoming a source of free-floating anxiety. You’ll also be able to keep your vacation and work separate, which is really the goal.
- Let your family and work colleagues know when you will be working. This way your spouse and kids will know when their fave playmate will be available. Your workmates will know when you’ll be reviewing their emails and taking calls.
- Plan ahead to ensure you’ll have all the necessary info and resources that you’ll need to do your work while away. Nothing worse than forgetting to bring that report that you’re supposed to be analyzing.
- Stick to your plan. If you planned to do a little bit of work each day, keep that up. It’ll be better than stressing out by trying to cram it all in on the last few days.
- When work is done, it is done…now go play! Remember, the whole idea is to recreate and re-energize…don’t let yourself get sucked into the never-ending sinkhole of work demands.
For those of you that have struggled but succeeded in getting away unplugged, what were the barriers? How did you overcome them? What were the benefits?