It used to be that where you went on vacation was the big question. Now, the big question is are you actually going somewhere at all and if so just how much work are you taking with you.
Corporate America, shame on you.
Corporate workers, shame on you for letting them do it to you.
How often do people actually go away for a week or two anymore and leave all the electronic leashes at home?
Before you go away this summer, I propose making two lists. One list is the standard "what do I need to take" list; the other, however, is the "what should I leave at home" list.
The goal is to keep work commitments to an absolute minimum and family commitments to an absolute maximum. Can we agree on that?
Make the second list first.
What can you leave at home?
1. How about the laptop? If you limit yourself to e-mail on your smartphone; you may check e-mail more often, but your responses will be shorter, if you bother to answer at all. It's much easier to sit down at a laptop, look up two hours and three e-mails later and realize your family went hiking without you. Don't expect a warm reunion when they get back, either.
2. No briefcases, please! It's something to haul around that is a highly visual symbol to your family that you aren't quite all there with them. Put the absolute most necessary documents on a flash drive and strike a compromise to only use the hotel computers in the executive center once a day for a very limited time (like the hour before breakfast). Again, using some other way to access the Internet other than a laptop makes it more difficult to get lost in time and cheat on your promises of restraint.
3. Your work ethic! You've earned your vacation. You need your vacation. Your family makes enough sacrifices playing second fiddle to your long hours and distracted moods the rest of the year. So be a slacker and focus on having a good time with them.
What can you take on vacation, but leave in the hotel room when you're out with the family?
Your cell phone! Yes, your cell phone. Check your messages once or twice a day as needed. Put the office and colleagues on notice that you are going off the reservation for a time and plan around it. Nothing is more obnoxious or sad to watch a Mom, Dad or spouse taking business calls on a tour bus. FYI.. your family and everyone else on the bus will hate you and you deserve it.
What should you take?
- Bathing suit
- Something to wear out to dinner
- A trashy paperback
- Flip flops
Get the idea? Now, go have fun.