School is out and summer is officially in full bloom. Time to plan for those wonderful family vacations; the chance to get away from the office and household chores and just sit and relax.
Well, maybe in theory. The truth is, our worlds have become so entangled, thanks in part to our technology connections, that is appears to be nearly impossible to leave work in the office. So here are a few tips that I have found to be successful when planning on leaving work for a vacation. A little advance preparation helps enrich and distress the time away.
- Discuss the dates with your manager before your finalize your travel
- Block off your dates in your calendars so others cannot book meetings during that time
- Share the dates with as much lead time as possible with your working teams, partners and customers (as needed)
- Build a list of items that you will deliver before vacation and what will be done when you get back, review with management and teams
- Assign someone or multiple people to be your point of contacts (usually per initiative or project) while you are out
- Reschedule any reoccurring meetings that land during your vacation to before or after your vacation
- Provide your team with a cell number that you can be reached but be sure to say only for items you cannot get resolution on or that cannot wait. Do not call me for things that are not “urgent” in nature.
- If you want, say you will briefly check emails (30 mins) every other day to be sure no urgent request is pending
- If you are in high demand, ask your company to pay for wireless in your hotel or if you are overseas see an international card for your phone. If they decline, they have just given you permission to completely unplug if you want.
- For peace of mind, research wireless cafés nearby so you do have a backup if needed to fax, print or send emails.
The better you communicate prior to leaving for vacation, the more clearly expectations will be set. You’ll be surprised to find that people will respect and honor your right to a little down time if you have prepared them adequately in advance.
Once your preparation is complete, leave with the knowledge that this time away is meant to help you clear your mind, re-energize your spirit and refresh your soul. When we truly unplug during our time away, we come back with a new level of excitement and a renewed creativity for our jobs, team and customers.
Have a great vacation! You have earned it!