I recently went through the madness that can often come at work just before you go away on vacation. When you are self-employed it can be both more liberating and insane all at the same time. Whether you are in charge or not, it is up to you to make it a smooth transition from everyday work to much needed vacation. Striking the right balance between bringing completion to projects and letting things wait until you return can be a spastic dance. Do it well and you ease your way into that vacation. Do it poorly and it can become a living hell making you wonder why you ever wanted to take a vacation in the first place.
Recently I had the opportunity to do the dance in anticpation of a ten-day vacation in my business. I want to share with you how to do it well. For full disclosure, let's just say that I did some of these steps well and some, well, not so well. It's live and learn as always and that said, it is up to you to take responsibility for whether you relish or rue the time right before you go away. And, there's always next time to do better!
1) Do Not Plan Huge Events Right Before/After Your Trip
If possible, create some space between any major project launches, marketing events, or responsibilities around the days you are away. Call it a buffer zone. Call it self-protection. Whatever you call it, give yourself a fighting chance. Remember there are always unforseen challenges, follow-up, and work to be done before and after major work milestones.
2) Clear Your Schedule Just Before You Leave
Whether it is a few hours or a few days, create some appointment free space right before you leave to catch up on inevitable last minute requests and projects that need completing before you go. When you are creating this "sacred space" in your calendar, you want to double or triple what you think would be sufficient. Believe me, we tend to underestimate the time we need by a long-shot and end up stressed out.
3) No is a Complete Sentence
I'm not sure why people don't understand that NO is a complete sentence. When someone asks for something last minute and you really cannot fulfill their request, No is an acceptable answer. I know what you're thinking - but my boss will never buy it! I didn't say that you might not have to adapt a little, but at the end of the day, you cannot put ten pounds of poop in a five pound bag.
4) Burning the Candle at Both Ends Hurts
Much like the example in #3 the answer to trying to do two weeks of work in one is the same. It cannot be done. It you find yourself up late every night and up before dawn, you are going to hate yourself. People say vacation is too much trouble because they don't plan for it. Reaching the beginning of your vacation totally fried and exhausted is counter-productive.
5) It'll Be There When You Return
The work, the to-do lists, the voicemails. They will all be here waiting for you when you return. That is OK. Life is too short to justify not taking time-off because your work is too important. You are totally dispensable. That's right, no one is indispensable. When people die suddenly work continues and no one misses a beat or businesses simply close/change hands. Don't give yourself some silly excuse as to why you can't take time to enjoy.
Credit Image: Ryan Somma via Flickr
Paula Gregorowicz, The Intuitive Intelligence™ Coach helps you break free of the struggle of making the "right" decisions so you can discover and successfully create the work you're most meant to do in the world.
Download the Free Report: Your Own Uniqueness: The Path to Purpose, Prosperity, and Playfulness at http://www.intuitiveintelligencecoaching.
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