My daughter was off from school a few weeks ago for Spring Break and we decided to take a much needed break and head out of town for a long weekend. Thankfully, since we live on the East Coast, there are lots of beaches within a few hours of home so we chose one of our favorites, loaded up the car and the 8 month old puppy, and hit the road.
While gathering up everything I needed for the trip, she saw me grab my laptop and notebook from my desk and said “You’re not going to work while we’re away, are you?” …..
So, here is some bonus advice for handling email while on vacation and making sure you truly relax and enjoy your time with family, friends, or even yourself if you opt for a solo getaway.
- DON’T schedule any meetings the day before you leave. No matter how good your intentions are, the last day in the office always tends to get crazy. Make sure you have the time to deal with last minute issues and wrap things up so you can actually exhale when you walk out the door knowing that all critical tasks have been handled.
- TURN ON your out of office reply. I’m guilty of skipping this step myself sometimes, and while you may have time and end up answering emails while away, let that be the exception, not the norm. If you’re away for business and will be checking your email, say so … “I’m away for business and will be checking my email periodically. If you need immediate assistance, please contact [ fill in the blank ] …” And if you’re going away with your family like I did, tell the truth … “I’m on vacation with my family and will not be checking my email very often. Please contact [ fill in the blank ] for immediate assistance or I will be in touch when I return on ….”
- CLEAR THE CLUTTER on your phone using the delete/forward/quick reply (if your kid’s not watching and/or still asleep 🤫) / save for later method.
- DON’T schedule any meetings on your first day back. While I often say taking a long weekend just means “cramming five days of work into three”, you’ll want a clear calendar that first morning back so you can A – clean out your inbox and B – check in with your teammates to get caught up on anything important that happened while you were gone. Plus, the whole point of taking time off is to rest and relax, and if you fill your first day back up to the brim, you’ll most likely end up feeling stressed or overwhelmed by the end of the day, which defeats the purpose of you taking time off in the first place. 😳
Now that I’ve got you thinking about a getaway of your own, I’ll share one final tip. Whether you end up hitting the road or just sitting at home, check your calendar and schedule an “OFF” day in the coming weeks. When life gets crazy (which seems to be the norm these days) just knowing you have a day off coming up can help you find the strength to push through. Plus I’m sure you’ve earned, and could use a day off by now.