So You Really Want to Take a Vacation

Published: Friday, December 4, 2015

The Christmas holiday season is upon us and people are taking time off to visit friends and family or just taking a well-deserved rest. The last thing that anyone wants on holiday is to be interrupted by work. However, for many of us, the connected world is just too darn connected and people tend to think we are always available. We see the “urgent” response required email and no matter if we try to put it off, it will nag us until we complete a response.

There are few things more enjoyable then sledding on a Christmas vacation.  Don't let the interruptions that are insignificant happen.

We need a plan to eliminate these interruptions from our lives. By the way these interruptions are just during holiday or vacation time, but can occur on a sick day, an offsite with your team, or even a set of time when you really want to be in a focus zone.

Reducing the noise for unwanted interruptions while away

  1. Delegate who can make decisions while you are away. Make sure that this is clear with the person you are delegating to first though. The key here is to ensure that they have the accountability and authority to make decisions on your behalf. Very rarely should there need to be a decision that has to be made in the moment. If that is happening, have the full confidence that your delegate can make it while away. When you get back, there shouldn’t be a pile of information to wade through and immediate or urgent decisions to make. Get a recap.

  2. Have an aggressive out of office email. Since you can put whatever you want in the email, make it comprehensive. Point them to documentation, put in your delegates contact information. Let them know when you will be away.

Aside: Michael Hyatt described his email message here and some tips that he uses. He even went so far in one of his podcasts to suggest deleting out all email while on vacation. I will modify that slightly and run a rule that archives it all, but the premise is really sound. You don’t want to come back on vacation to a massive inbox

  1. Unplug where ever possible from the distraction. If you are focused on a particular project during the day, shutdown your mail program. Turn off notifications. Make sure your social media channels are also put in the do not disturb mode (which is usually off). All these things will make your time spent more valuable.

Take time to ramp back up

When you return to your busy schedule, the last thing you want to do is feel overwhelmed at the start. Otherwise what was the purpose of your downtime. If it is a vacation, don’t schedule meetings on the day you come back, rather collect your thoughts, block off the appropriate time to acclimate and spend some time thinking through issues that may have risen while out.


Now, go enjoy your vacation!