I went on a real vacation! As you’ll recall, taking vacation is one of my goals for 2015. I was just at my husband’s family’s lake house for an entire week, where I mostly just read books (for a total of 8, mostly fiction), hung out on the dock, ate, and played board games. It was awesomely relaxing.
For the first time that I can remember, I put an autoresponder on my work email address, saying that I was away from the office and I would respond to any requests when I returned. Note that I didn’t say that I would have limited access to email and would respond as soon as possible—this is an important difference, because this relieved any pressure I had on myself to check my work email all the time and respond as soon as I could.
Of course, that’s not to say I never checked my email. I did, and even responded to a couple that were more urgent. But, being clear with people who were trying to get in contact with me that I did not plan to respond until my return was crucial to feeling like I was actually disconnected from work.
This is why the autoresponder is my new best friend—it communicates clearly to those who are trying to contact me, and it also gives me the space I need to disconnect. Win, win. You can bet I’ll be using the autoresponder option more often in the future.
Besides the autoresponder revelation, I also realized one other important fact:
There’s never a perfect time to take a vacation.
There will always be some kind of project you’re currently working on, some correspondence you’re waiting for, and things on your to-do list. This might seem like a downer, but in reality, this is liberating! Because if there is no PERFECT time, that means there are plenty of GOOD ENOUGH times in the year that you get away. Don’t aim for the perfect time to get away, aim for just any time away.
If there is no perfect time, then just take any opportunity you have at a good time to take a break.
I came back with renewed energy and clarity, and overall positivity about what’s to come. And I got to spend time with family, which is always important! Are you going on vacation this summer? If so, where to? And what are your tricks to making sure work stays at work?