How To Keep Your Job From Ruining Your Vacation - InformationWeek
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6/26/2015
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How To Keep Your Job From Ruining Your Vacation

Here's what you can do before, during, and after your vacation to make it restful and help you disconnect.
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(Image: Tim Sackton via Flickr)

(Image: Tim Sackton via Flickr)

Work ruins vacations. Lucky is the IT pro who has not experienced this: You're on a long-awaited vacation and your phone rings. Your boss has a question, or needs your help. Maybe you do it to yourself. You check your email and spot an issue you know the folks at the office are trying to handle without you, but you can't enjoy yourself until you know it is fixed. How do you keep work from ruining your vacation?

Through a complex plan requiring cunning and guile, of course. Though sometimes all you need is a little planning and a few good apps to turn your "working" vacation into a real vacation.

Why does it matter? The health effects are great. Vacations reduce stress and improve health. Time away makes you an effective, productive worker. Yet, in 2014, Americans took only 51% of their paid vacation days, according to a survey by careers site Glassdoor and Harris Interactive. The survey polled of 2,300 workers who receive paid vacation days. Even worse, 61% of respondents said they work while they're on vacation, 25% said they've being contacted by a colleague about a work-related matter while taking time off, and 20% have been contacted by their boss.

If we're not going to use all our available vacation days, we sure as heck ought to enjoy the days we do take. Work can certainly carry on without us, and we can carry on without working nonstop. Here's what you can do before, during, and after your vacation to make it restful and help you disconnect. Check out our tips, and then tell us in the comments section below what you to do to make the most of your vacation.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio

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Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
7/3/2015 | 10:26:02 AM
Re: How to coast back into your routine.
I like this post. In fact I am often disturbed during my vacation. I remember that I need to dial in to conference even during my honeymoon.:-( One effective way is leaving a good deputy to delegate your work during vacation.
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
6/29/2015 | 2:27:10 PM
Re: How to coast back into your routine.
msims, the most amazing part of your comment was that you had THREE weeks of vacation. All in a row?! How did you pull that off?

My one humble suggestion to your list would be to manage those low priority emails the day/night before your first day back in the office. It may seem like a breach into the work-vacation barrier, but getting some email mess taken care of before makes your first day in the office so much less stressful. And that's worth it.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/29/2015 | 1:47:58 PM
Re: How to coast back into your routine.
@msims20701- Thanks for the great advice. I like the low priority email suggestion. i tend to answer my email in the order it arrives which seems like a bad idea now.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
6/29/2015 | 12:58:03 PM
Re: timely
@namsimon- yeah, it is funny because I've always been a nexter by habit. I actually tend to enjoy anticipating an event more than actually having the event. I just had no word for it. When I discovered the word, I was like, "so cheesy, but so perfect."
msims20701
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msims20701,
User Rank: Strategist
6/29/2015 | 9:44:41 AM
How to coast back into your routine.
I was on my vacation for three weeks and I made sure that I set my own rules for when I do and do not wish to be contacted and how. I made sure that I left my cell phone number only to be contacted in a specific emergency, what people in the office to contact and when I'll return any e-mails.

Now since I have just returned from my vacation lask week in which my boss was off that week I have some advice to share with you on how to coast back into your daily routine.

1. Answer the low-priority e-mail first: You may be wondering why when people return from vacation that they usualy answer the critical high-priority e-mail messages first rather than the low-priority e-mail. The answer may not seem so obvious at first but when I thought about it and it makes more sense that there are more low-priority e-mail than high-priority e-mail messages. These mesages are mostly junk that you can skim through and delete  so that way you won't be spending nearly 80% of your time wasting your day on it. Look at the high-priority e-mail messages and assign your own priority to them such as for my case my bosses e-mail messages always come first, then secretary e-mails second, department e-mails third, vendors fourth and so on.

2. Don't go to your boss just let him come to you: since returning from my vacation my boss was off that entire week so I didn't bother to send him any e-mails since he did not want to be reached and prefered to be contacted only upon his own return. So in this case can really get a chance to still work on my projects and let the boss come to me when he returns instead if he has any questions for me to answer. This way I don't have any stress nor pressure to deal with only when he has an assignment for me to work on then I'll get right to work.

3. Take one project at a time: Sometimes we get innundated with a lot of last minute projects in which your boss wants you to complete within a week and other projects have a deadline. I know as everyone else knows that as with IT it is this: Everything we do has almost one thing in common: a deadline. Wether a project calls for new computer installs, network upgrades, hardware inventory take the most important ones first like the network upgrade for example followed by computer installs second. You want to make sure that your network is running smoothly before your computers get installed on the network.

4. It can wait until tommorrow or next monday: Sometimes you may either get a call or an e-mail just about 10 minutes before leaving work for the day and it never seems to fail and at the most inopotune time. In a situation such as this when you have powered off your PC or cellphone you know that whatever message that you got can wait either tommorrow or next monday since it will be waiting for you to read it.

5. Shutdown PC and or Cell phone when leaving: Its true that we all ive in a 24X7 work of constant connectivity which tugs at us at every turn that we sometimes tend to forget what is really important to us and that is our lives in the real world around us. We get so absorbed into own own pockets of cyberspace that we fail to pay attention to where we are walking, climbing stairs, crossing the street that we can hurt or critically injured. This is best to turn off the smartphone while driving and I do this before I get into my car. At dinner I have a very strict policy for everyone to turn off their smartphones, iPods, iPads ect and leave them in their own rooms so that everyone can talk face to face and share what they had done during the day, how their day went, problems ect.

We can learn to live without our devices realising that life itself is what we as human beings are more dependent on than letting our own devices run our lives for us. It's ok to use these devices just so long as they don't take over our converstations, manners and questions about life. We as human being owe it to ourselves to just turn off, cut the cord, step outside and just walk through the woods, down the street, be at the beach and just soak up the sun.     
H@mmy
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[email protected],
User Rank: Ninja
6/29/2015 | 12:52:35 AM
Re: You'd think ...
haha. So where does the vacation go ? No vacation that means?
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
6/28/2015 | 10:30:48 PM
Re: You'd think ...
yalanand, if you can't trust your subordinates while you're away and unplug on vacation, you are not a good manager. If your bosses can't stop bothering you while you are on vacation --- and aren't connecting with your staff instead --- you are not good at managing up.
yalanand
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yalanand,
User Rank: Ninja
6/28/2015 | 3:43:09 PM
Re: Vacation...had to get away...
@Sunita: Impressive idea. Maybe I should start doing it myself.
yalanand
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yalanand,
User Rank: Ninja
6/28/2015 | 3:40:51 PM
Re: You'd think ...
@hammy: I have also mentored and supervised managers on a manager level as well and I agree with you. As a manager even if you take a vacation you constantly think about your management and how your subordinates are doing. "Keep me posted" is what you tell your subordinates because you have to think of a way out if they mix up things.
yalanand
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yalanand,
User Rank: Ninja
6/28/2015 | 3:38:02 PM
Re: You'd think ...
@Hammy: Most people talk about balancing work and life but in reality that just does not happen until you have reached a high position. When you are a junior you have so much of pressure and you have to take your laptop to work as well. Most people do not live in the corporate world, they live in corporate hell. They don't know how to balance things out because nobody gives them the chance. I have been a victim of this. I still shudder to think about my life back then.
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