(Photo Credit: kwimsnr/Flickr)
Taking a real vacation is tough these days. With mobile devices and ubiquitous Wi-Fi, it's easy to work straight through your supposed time off. The problem, of course, is that if you never recharge, you'll be about as useful to your employer as that waterlogged phone. So how can you take time off, without looking like a slacker?
1. Set expectations.
If at all possible, frame your vacation as a no-work zone. If that doesn't fit with your company's corporate philosophy, pick set times you'll check in, and stick to that. Depending on where you're going, wireless coverage might legitimately be pretty spotty; even if it's not, it's a good idea to prepare everyone for the fact that they won't be able to get hold of you at a moment's notice, both for your sanity and their productivity.
2. Cover yourself.
Line up coverage for everything you do, from your day-to-day tasks to putting out fires. Even if you have to be available during your time off, route as many of these issues through the people who cover for you as possible. Every time you jump in and solve a problem while you're supposed to be off work, you're encouraging people to call you instead of the person who's covering for you.
3. Practice good project management.
Give yourself a day or two before or after your vacation to prepare while you're still on the clock. Don't book major meetings or commit to deadlines right before you take off. Your boss will of course know that you're there and working, but other colleagues and clients will be less able to pile on more work while you're trying to dig out.
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