How to Vacation When You Can't Unplug


Get away. Take time off. Make time for yourself. Ever hear those words and think, must be nice? Sure, these things all sound great, but when you’re starting your own biz, or are going through a crucial time in your job, peacing out on vacation for a week just won’t always work.

So how do you continue your hustle from vacation or when the kids are home from school? It’s possible to make working work even when you can’t work a full 8-hour day. Here are three tips to enjoy vacation or a little time off without completely unplugging.

Schedule office hours. On my latest trip to Arizona, I made the time zone work to my advantage. I woke up early and got a few solid hours of work in before my family was ready to start the day. For clients I knew might need me, I told them ahead of time that this would be the time to contact me. While early in Arizona worked well because it was mid-morning in Milwaukee, other times of day could work too. A couple of hours after lunch when the family is resting or late in the afternoon before going out to dinner could also work really well. 

Set boundaries. After my office hours ended, I turned on my out of office setting, which told clients I was unavailable and would only be checking email periodically. This sets the expectation that I would not get back to them right away. If you’re dealing with possible urgent matters, you can provide your cell to reach you if it’s urgent. Change your voicemail greeting too to manage expectations! Not many think to change out of office or voicemail messages for just a few hours, but this quick change during the day will really help you relax.

Check in regularly but not constantly. After I got some work done in the morning, I tried to not check in on email or social media throughout the day. I did, however, plan to look at it a couple times when I wasn’t distracted. This helped me stay in the loop and not worry I was missing anything. Then, I could truly enjoy the time with family between those check ins. Checking in quickly at the end of the day helped me turn it off before dinner.

What about you? Any tips for working while you’re away without letting work take over?

Sara Meadows