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Staying Connected and Keeping Your Sanity While on Vacation

Staying Connected and Keeping Your Sanity While on Vacation

Sometimes it's just not possible to disconnect completely when you go on vacation. You might be a key player in your organization or there may be something crucial happening at the time. You may be an entrepreneur or consultant and need to remain connected or are running a home business and have nobody else to delegate to.

But it doesn't have to ruin your vacation if you manage it carefully. Here are some strategies you can use to maximize your vacation while staying connected.

Preparing your Contacts

You probably have specific clients, suppliers or internal contacts who should know you are away and should have special arrangements with them to contact you while you are on vacation. If you can delegate someone for them to contact in your absence, who then contact you if it's urgent, that's better than having them go directly to you. The person doesn’t have to do anything but be a gatekeeper.

Otherwise, let them know your plan for staying connected and how to get in touch with you if there is something that can't wait. A good way is to have them send you a text message first, then you call them back. This helps you manage your time better. Be sure to let them know they should only use this process to reach you in a real emergency that can't wait.

Most importantly, set expectations. Everyone needs vacation time and people you work with should understand your more limited access and the fact that you won't be able to reply as quickly or regularly as you would when you aren’t on vacation or get things done as timely as they may want. In fact, ask them to only reach out to you if it is absolutely something they need from you before you return.

Email and Voice-mail vacation alert

Go ahead and put an alert on your voice-mail and email to let everyone know you are on vacation and how to connect with you if it is important, and to wait if it isn't.

The key is for people to understand your availability. For voice-mail, simply leave a message on your office line and cell phone and dimply check your voice-mail periodically, but don’t answer your cell phone. You can also give instructions that if it is urgent, they should send you an email instead.

If your job requires you to be available all the time to respond to an emergency and you have set this up with key contacts, carry your cell phone and only check text messages, but otherwise, leave it in the hotel room.

This way, you are never bothered by a call while you are touring or lying on the beach.

For your email, set up a vacation alert and anyone who emails you will get the message. You can either direct them elsewhere if possible, or tell them you will reply to emails at a specific time of the day. Anyone who needs to get in touch with you on an emergency basis should already know, so emails can always wait.

Setting your Work Schedule

This is the most important thing, since it helps you get relaxation time during your vacation. It assumes you've set the ground rules for others to connect with you and don't have to deal with too many emergency situations.

Your schedule will depend on your plans and your own personal preference. You can schedule 'work' time in the early morning before you start your vacation day or late in the evening after you're done. You will know what works for you.

How much time you set aside depends on whether you would typically just have to reply to emails or whether you will have to do work. For instance, if you need to do work, set aside mid-morning hours between breakfast and lunch or get up early and have everything done before your family wants to get breakfast. If all you need to do is reply to emails, set aside the time you think it will take.

Then, keep to the schedule by focusing on work during those hours and focusing on your vacation during the rest of the time. Essentially, you are compartmentalizing your time. Don't check emails or answer your cellphone during the time you set aside for the ‘vacation’ time, only do that during the ‘work’ time. vacation time.

Assuming you set up your emergency contact method, you don't have to be stressed about not checking email or answering calls. Quite simply, everything else can wait.

Manage Your Family and Vacation Schedule

Finally, you need to ensure your family is aware of your vacation/work plans and your activities are designed to manage your time. It's possible there will be some days where it can't work, due to the timing of excursions or other scheduling issues, but generally, you and your family should keep your work plans in mind.

About Michel Theriault

Michel is the founder of Success Fuel for Managers. He is an author, speaker and consultant focusing on topics relevant to Managers and aspiring Managers in businesses of all sizes who want to get results, get attention, and get ahead. He is also a contributor to Forbes and AllBusiness Experts . Michel is available for speaking engagements, training and consulting. Connect with him or send an email.

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