Noth­ing says sum­mer like going on a relax­ing vaca­tion where you can over-eat, over-drink, and get a lit­tle sun­burn. The prob­lem is that many of us are plan­ning to go on said vaca­tion, but don’t real­ly know how to total­ly unplug while we are actu­al­ly there. Our smart phones, ultra light com­put­ers, and addict­ing tablets make it all too easy to stay total­ly con­nect­ed to our work when we real­ly should be giv­ing our brains a much need­ed break. I think this is espe­cial­ly true for us Mil­len­ni­als, who have shat­tered the work-life bound­aries and learned how to seam­less­ly weave both into our day-to-day. Even though these blurred lines of rou­tine allow us to live the sched­ule we want, that men­tal­i­ty hurts us while on vaca­tion. Inspired by my recent get­away, here is a to-do list of items to help you tie up loose ends so you can you tru­ly enjoy your time away, while not putting your team in dan­ger of fire while you are gone.

Figure out if and when you are going to have wifi

This might seem like a stu­pid thing to con­sid­er but if the answer is no, you will know upfront that if you need­ed to com­mu­ni­cate with your team, it might be more cost­ly or impos­si­ble.


Be realistic about your vacation email responder

Set­ting an email vaca­tion respon­der might sound old-school but it is a must. When set­ting your time­frame, be real­is­tic about when you are going to check out and check back in. If you want a qui­et day to catch up when you get back, extend it out an extra day so you can use that time to get back in the game.


Furthermore, be specific in your vacation email response

On the same note as above, make sure your email is spe­cif­ic enough that is some­one has ques­tions or a need, they know where to go. Stay away from “If this is an emer­gency, con­tact So And So”, because not every­thing is an emer­gency and you don’t want the sender feel­ing like they are impos­ing. Try to be more thought­ful and give con­tact infor­ma­tion for some­one who is pre­pared to deal with your list. If you work across a few dif­fer­ent depart­ments, call out who to con­tact for what to make it even less con­fus­ing for the sender.


Create a to-do/status list for those you work with and report to

I recent­ly did this (for the first time) before my vaca­tion and it real­ly helped me feel like what­ev­er I was work­ing on or think­ing about lived on a doc­u­ment that was vis­i­ble to my team so if there was a ques­tion or dead­line while I was away, all the infor­ma­tion was eas­i­ly acces­si­ble. This is espe­cial­ly impor­tant if a co-work­er is going to han­dle your project or deliv­er tasks while you are away. The more proac­tive you are, the less chance you have of some­one inter­rupt­ing your beach yoga ses­sion to ask what the lat­est is with the John Doe account.


If necessary, set a day and time that you will be available

If it is total­ly impos­si­ble for you to cut off com­mu­ni­ca­tion while you are away, or if there is a super impor­tant some­thing that you can’t miss, des­ig­nate a day and time that you know you will be avail­able. This way, your team can col­lect all ques­tions, com­ments, and con­cerns for that time-slot so both par­ties don’t have to wor­ry about respond­ing to a water­fall of com­mu­ni­ca­tions.


Let your close clients know that you will be gone

Your vaca­tion respon­der will prob­a­bly suf­fice for 90% of your emails but for those who you com­mu­ni­cate with dai­ly, shoot them a sep­a­rate per­son­al note to let them know the dates you will be gone and who they can con­tact in the mean­time.  This will first­ly, rein­force that you care about them and are think­ing about their needs, and sec­ond­ly, might prompt some things that you can take care of before leav­ing.

In short …


Do this


Not this


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