You’ve been working hard all year and like so many travelers this year, you’re eager to get out and make memories with your friends or family. But vacationing while trying to run your business is an enormous challenge. How can you make the most of your time away and keep everything running smoothly at work?
This week we’ve got five tips to help you strategize working while traveling so you can enjoy your trip to the max. One thing to keep in mind with these tips: you’re traveling to get away and create new experiences. You can’t do that if you’re constantly checking email and making calls. Do your best to leave work behind so you can come back to the office recharged and re-inspired.
Tip # 1: Don’t Commit to Too Much
This one may be tough, but you’ve been planning this trip for a while and owe the time away to yourself and your family. Don’t commit to more work than you can realistically get done. Look at your travel itinerary and estimate the number of hours per day you can work (or the total number of working hours for the duration of your trip). Now reduce this number by one third to a half. This will ensure you don’t give too much of your time away and don’t feel tempted to take on more than you can get done while away.
The last thing you want is to limit your vacation time and fail to meet work expectations because you couldn’t get as much done as you thought.
Undercutting the amount of time you can realistically work will allow you to enjoy your vacation and avoid taking on more than necessary. Plus, you’ll have a cushion of extra time to handle an emergency should one arise in your absence—though it probably won’t!
Tip #2: Limit Computer and Electronic Time
This tip works in sync with the previous. By limiting your computer time, you’ll make certain you don’t overcommit and vice versa. Set a small amount of time during each day—or only on certain days—in which your primary focus will be work. Maybe it’s first thing in the morning, at lunch, or when you check in for the night. Let your travel companions know these are the hours in which you are working so you can stay on task.
By limiting your time to just an hour or two per day, you’ll remain more focused and work efficiently. This will also allow you to leave your travel workstation at the hotel or resort rather than spend the day looking for a signal to check in—an added source of frustration you do not want while adventuring.
There’s ample evidence that ditching your phone while traveling is beneficial to your vacation experience, however, it can be unrealistic for some. Do your best to only respond to the truly important messages you receive while away.
Tip #3: Avoid Discussing Work
This tip seems simple but putting it into practice can be a challenge. When so much of our time during the week is spent working and thinking about work, it is difficult to suddenly push our working lives out of mind. However, do your best not to talk work while on the beach or mountain trail. Each time you find your mind drifting back to the office, make an observation about where you are. This will help you appreciate your destination more and keep you grounded in the present experience.
Tip #4: Check in to Ease Your Mind
As much as we’d all love to leave work behind entirely, for most of us, especially business leaders, it’s unrealistic to drop off completely for a week at a time. Establishing small windows of time to allow yourself to check-in will put your mind at ease and let you enjoy your getaway more. You don’t want to be wondering how things are going in the office while you’re playing in the ocean, hiking, or museum hopping. Allowing yourself a quick check-in will put those worries to rest and remind you that everything is running smoothly in your absence.
Tip #5: Set a Hard Cut-off Time
Lastly, set a hard cut-off time while away. Those messages can wait until tomorrow. Do your daily check-in, respond to any truly important emails, and then let yourself relax. An unfortunate reality of our uber-connected digital age is we can take work with us anywhere and be reached at almost any time. Vacation is the perfect time to say, “after 10 am, I will no longer be available.” Make the most of that luxury.