Don't Pack Work When Vacationing

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Tis the season for vacations!  After tossing the house upside down to pack, making 20 phone calls to find a dog sitter, and braving the chaos at the airport, train station or highway it feels amazing to kick back, relax, and daydream of all the fun to be had with family and friends.


You would think the idea of unlimited employee vacation time, a recently surfaced concept which is currently adopted by only a few companies, would be a dream come true. While many people feel they are overworked and underpaid, they don’t take many opportunities to get away from the grind even on their vacation. According to Forbes, of the U.S. employees asked, 52% said they were planning to work during their summer vacations!


Travel is extremely difficult with a tether like that. Plenty of people, who return home from time off, comment that they need “a vacation from their vacation.” All of the energy spent on organizing and executing an out of town visit can be just as exhausting as putting in a full time week on the job. So why would anyone want to add office work to their itinerary.


The rise in portable media devices and Smartphone technology make it difficult to say away from work, even if you have the best intentions to do so on your vacation or staycation. It’s easy to say you’ll unplug and many coworkers and clients respect your “out of office” notice but still it’s all too tempting to just take a peek at your inbox and get sucked into work while you should be taking some time for yourself.


Many people rationalize working during their off time as “just trying to get ahead” which is about as effective as Sisyphus trying to get ahead rolling his rock up the hill. Even if you spend your entire vacation working, there will still be more work waiting for you when you return. If there isn’t, that’s all the more reason to save it until you’re on the clock.


Another problem with working when you’re off is the precedent it sets for any future vacations you may want to take. If you’ve worked through all of your getaways before why wouldn’t your employer assume you will be equally accessible when you take a trip in the future.


Toting your to do list with you is also an easy way to alienate your travel companions. No one wants to wait one more minute for you to respond to work emails when they could be swimming with dolphins, riding roller coasters or shopping for souvenirs. If there’s a total melt down then you can be pretty sure that work will get in touch with you.


Prepare everything to run as smoothly as you can without you before you go. Leave detailed lists and written instructions for where to find things and what to do in certain scenarios. If you’re the problem and you just can’t step away, extreme measures may need to be taken. Leave your cell phone at home and buy a prepaid mobile phone for emergencies only. You’ll still get good pictures carrying a camera that can’t call out.


In the end the memories will be more valuable than the money you might make.


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