Sometimes you need to hit the reset button. You've been working nonstop. You're exhausted and suffering from brain fog. Your family has planned a getaway but completely getting away from work for an extended period of time would hurt the company too much. 

In a perfect world, we'll schedule our vacation, completely detach, and not worry about the office. I know that'd be ideal for me. However, it's not so simple. Getting away can be especially difficult if you're a startup.  

So, instead of fighting with yourself and feeling guilty, here are some ways to stay productive while on vacation and enjoy every second of it.

Prioritize your tasks before leaving.

Before you dive off the deep end and try to spend every second of your vacation doing work, write down everything you have to do and it's deadline. Once you've taken a look at everything, see what you can do while away from the office and cross off anything that requires you to physically be there.

It's helpful to use task management software to get organized. I sync my to-do list on my browser with my phone. Plus, it's less to carry in my luggage. 

Plan your days.

Remember that you're on vacation and not temporarily working remote. If you're on vacation with your family, you don't want them to feel neglected. So, dedicate about an hour or two at the beginning and 30 minutes to an hour at the end of your day to work.

My personal strategy is shower and eat early to beat the crowd while the rest of my party gets ready. Then depending on the tasks, I make it back during the afternoon hours to put in a few more hours while we everyone has a little siesta and preps for dinner. I finish off a few small tasks post-dinner but leave the heavy stuff for the early morning.  

If after reviewing your day, you notice that you still don't have huge chunks of free time, then work in short bursts.

Bring backups.

Depending on where you're going, it's not always a guarantee that the technology will work all the time. And although you're paying for high-quality service, outages happen. To ensure that you're always connected to the internet, bring a portable WiFi router with you.

This device will allow you to connect to the internet, no matter where you are in the world. All it needs is a SIM card. Plus, it protects your information.   

Take breaks.

You might think this is counterproductive, but take one day off to just enjoy your vacation. Don't think about work, don't check your emails, even if you feel like you need to. Relax.

A change in scenery and thought pattern can help your mind process your work better and give you a new perspective. Find inspiration in a new place by watching other people work and go about their daily lives. I draw inspiration from history and immersing myself in other cultures.  

Pay attention to your surroundings.

You might notice that while you were out grabbing a bite to eat, your server repetitively mentioned their best-selling dish. They describe each component with colorful enthusiasm. They finish by casually mentioning how they rarely get to indulge in it because they usually sell out.

At this point, you're onboard and ordering one for yourself. Their genuine methods of persuasion didn't feel forced. You leave inspired with new method to reaching more consumers (at least I did).  

Find a new work environment.

Sometimes all you need is a change of environment to get things done. Consider purchasing a pass to work in a shared workspace like WeWork. Spend a few days working productively so that you can spend a few days relaxing. 

Alternatively, some hotels are catering more to their business travelers and remote workers, offering larger workspaces with a variety of amenities available. Utilize rewards programs and credit cards to gain access to these spaces. 

Set boundaries.

Working while on vacation isn't the end of the world, but you shouldn't be expected to answer every phone call that comes through. Let clients and employers know that you're going on vacation and won't be able during your normal work hours. Leave an out-of-office message and limit your work interactions to speaking with people left in charge. 

If you find that you can't do as much as you hoped, it's okay. Remember that you're taking a vacation. Don't overwork. You don't want to burnout on vacation. Pace yourself and enjoy your time away.

Published on: Jul 31, 2018