My Uncle Pat always says, “Wherever you go, there you are, so be there.”
As the owner of a small business, I hear his words echoing around my head every time I pull out my laptop while on vacation. I know I am not alone in this dilemma, for taking a vacation often can be difficult, if not impossible. The same can be said for solo practicing attorneys or associates at large law firms. For us, vacations often mean working from another location.
In today’s technological age, modern gadgets make it possible to work from anywhere. This is great for business (especially for our clients), but such connectivity makes it difficult to maintain a healthy work/life balance.
Here are three tips to help the vacation workers in all of us: I call these the three Ups: Speak-UP; Set-UP, and Disconnect-UP.
Let the people in your work family know you are going to be out of the office. Boldly putting your vacation on the office calendar informs your co-workers when you plan to be gone. Also let your clients know so they can adjust their expectations. All of this will help you actually walk out the door at the appointed time.
Set up a check-in schedule. This is a way to give yourself permission to enjoy your vacation without feeling the constant pressure of being in touch with the office. Whether it is only to check your email once in the morning and once at night, or to allow yourself to make one returned phone call, set your check-in schedule and stick to it. It boils down to a favored maxim of my grandmother: “Plan your work and work your plan.”
There really is no UP in disconnect, but it keeps everything in parallel structure. Have you ever left home without your cell phone? That is a disconnect from everything and everyone. Disconnecting is a time to recognize how vulnerable we are without our “tools” of connection. To Disconnect-UP while on vacation, we must leave our work laptop at home, and force ourselves to leave our cell phones and/or tablets in our hotel room safe, only in this way will be able to truly be on vacation. Remember Uncle Pat’s words: “Wherever you go, there you are, so be there.”
We want to hear from you, how do you speak-up, set-up, and disconnect-up when going on vacation?