We’ve all read this sage advice: unplug when you’re on vacation.
Many an article has been written on how we need to detach from work, shut everything out and just unwind and recharge. We’ve never subscribed to a one-size-fits all mantra, and for all those who think, “but I don’t want to unplug”, here’s something new: it’s okay not to.
Certainly there are those who work so intensely that the only way to recharge is to tune out. If that’s you, that’s okay. But what if you’re not like that? What if you enjoy working, even on an “off” day, and if someone told you to not work for 2 weeks, you might get bored - fast.
Perhaps you’re a solopreneur or small business owner whose business requires you to be hands-on to make sure the wheels don’t fall off. Does that mean you can never leave your desk? If you haven’t yet, check out our ebook “The Art of Delegation”. It’s an excellent read to help you hand off those parts of your operation that don’t require your specific expertise.
Or, what if taking a holiday and doing nothing would cause great stress for someone trying to cover for you? Then is your only option to never take vacation because, in good conscious, you feel as though you just can’t?
While we don’t ever advocate for burning yourself out (never never never), there is more than one way to run your life, and the solution to these scenarios may just be balance. Crazy notion, we know, but it is possible to balance responsibilities you can’t yet delegate, and still enjoy a vacation.
If you must work while on holiday, your first step is to ensure that you have both reliable internet availability wherever you happen to be, and access to everything you need. Usually, this means getting your technology in order and can include everything from organizing around a new time zone and making sure you have cloud-based access to your systems, to the devices you’ll use, the security software and processes you’ll need, and the back up systems and support you’ll have available (because every plan needs a “B”).
The next step is planning: whether you’re stretching out a long weekend or spending 3 weeks away in tropical paradise, a little planning can go a long way. Try to take care of as many things beforehand that you can, (like writing most of this article in July rather than September), inform all your stakeholders - from customers to colleagues, to strategic partners - of your trip, how you will be managing, and what your Plan Bs are for potential hang ups. Be clear with yourself and all your stakeholders about what you can reasonably accomplish during this period. Managing expectations is key; incorrect expectations can lead to resentment, while clear expectations lead to great success.
It’s unlikely to be a “normal” work period - because what fun is that? - so consider doing some time blocking for both work and fun while you’re away. Set aside time each day when you’ll be in the best position to do the work you plan, whether that’s first thing in the morning, late in the afternoon, or after your workation partners have gone to bed - whatever doesn’t interfere much with the prime hours of your holiday. Then dig in and do the work - do what you must. Approve payroll, write that article, review that proposal - and then shut it down. Compartmentalize your work from your vacation time so you can effectively do both within the same 24 hour period, with reduced stress, greater joy, and happy customers.
Tracey, our “Everything Slayer” will be on workation in French Polynesia throughout most of September 2017. We’re looking forward to her reports on how she creates balance during this trip - and sharing her tips and tricks with you.