Working During Your Vacation: Finding the Balance

These days, people often talk about work/ life balance. It’s an easy thing in theory to understand, but often difficult in practice to implement. This holds especially true when you’re on vacation. Granted, sometimes it’s unavoidable to not work while you’re on break.

If you have an upcoming vacation and you know that you’ll have a hard time maintaining your work/ life balance while you’re gone, here are some pointers to help you spend more of your vacation vacationing and less of it working.

These three tips help you set up the systems that you need to set up before you go in order to achieve more balance on vacation. They also help you to establish some work safety nets so to speak so that if it’s truly an emergency, your clients are still taken care of even if you’re not there.

Before You Go

Do you know what needs to be done on your projects while you’re gone? You should, especially if you have people who answer to you. If you don’t know what needs to be done, Chron suggests that you make a list of your tasks. Then, categorize them in the order of their importance.

Once you know what needs to be done, delegate the tasks for the projects to your subordinates. Make sure you talk about what needs to be done so that they’re not confused come the time for you to leave. This will prevent them from having to contact you during your vacation.

It would also be helpful for you to establish ahead of time what would constitute a good reason to contact you. That way, they know what kind of leeway that have to make decisions about a project in the event that they can’t get a hold of you.

Who’s Your Go-To Person?

Some issues at work remain pressing even if you’re not around to take care of them. According to Fast Company, one way to get around this is to have a go-to person who can act in your stead.

When you create your out-of-the-office message, be sure to give your clients another person to contact if your client needs something urgently. This allows you to keep your client contact to a minimum while you’re on break.

Pick Specific Work Times

If you know for sure that you’ll have to do at least some work while you’re away, The Fiscal Times recommends that you establish that ahead of time.

The morning is usually a good time to check emails or make unavoidable work phone calls. If you’re traveling with your family, you can keep these tasks completely separate from your home life by doing these activities in the hotel’s business center. Use this time to check in with your employees and with your boss. Let them know ahead of time what time of day that can expect to hear from you.

Once you complete this part of your day, you can leave your phone behind and enjoy a hike in the nearby mountains or a swim in the lake.

Final Thoughts

If you’re one of those people who know that you’ll have to do at least some work on vacation, some advanced planning will help keep that to a minimum. First, you want to visit with your boss and coworkers about when you’ll check in each day and what they need to do while you’re out. Selecting a go-to person to act in your stead also helps you to leave work in good conscience.

Second, Glassdoor reminds you to not talk about work while they’re on break. Instead, go make memories with your family and friends. This will help you to strike a balance between the work that you have to do and the play that you want to do.

Finally, it’s helpful to remember that everyone needs some downtime. If you’re spending too much time working on your vacation, you might as well have just stayed home and worked. This part of the balancing act is a mental shift. It’s worth learning how to make this shift, because it means that even when you’re truly back at work, you’ll know how to leave work at work when you finally leave at the end of the day.

Photo: Jocelyn / CC 2.0