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7 Tips to Take a Guilt-free Vacation From Work

Do you feel obligated to reply to emails during your holiday, because if you don’t, things will fall through the cracks? Given the global nature of business, there's no one time when all employees around the world are out on vacation. You may not be able to completely unplug, but that doesn't meant that you can't enjoy some time with your family. Here are some tips to help you take a few days off without feeling too guilty about it.

Do you feel obligated to reply to emails during your holiday, because if you don’t, things will fall through the cracks? Given the global nature of business, there’s no one time when all employees around the world are out on vacation. You may not be able to completely unplug, but that doesn’t meant that you can’t enjoy some time with your family. Here are some tips to help you take a few days off without feeling too guilty about it.

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(Photo Credit: Dave Dugdale/Flickr)

1. Plan well ahead of time: This helps give sufficient notice to your team and clients about your availability. You could also time your critical projects knowing when you would be able to dedicate the most time to them and when you will not be able to give 100 percent.

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2. Prioritize: Each person has her own priorities. Figure out what is absolutely important to you, knowing that it is impossible to be in two places at once. If you clearly set this out prior to your vacation, it will help you focus on your priorities — personal and professional.

3. Find a backup: If you handle multiple projects or have multiple responsibilities, it may be difficult to find one person who can fill in for you. In such a case, find people that work with you in your assignments and solicit their help to fill in while you are gone.

4. Share your emergency contact information: But, restrict the list of people who know this information to just one or two people. These people should also be listed in your out-of-office voice and email messages.

5. Define emergencies: Make the caveat that you can be reached only when it is an absolute emergency. If it helps, chart out what kinds of emergencies you foresee and how they can be tackled without your presence. Chalk out where you are absolutely required.

6. Have a dedicated time to check your mail: If it is impossible to shut the world of your job, for whatever reason, at least restrict the time that you spend on checking and answering your emails. Carry just one office gizmo with you, if you must, and attend to it only at the allocated time. The rest of the time is vacation time.

7. Reciprocate: If you wish to take vacations in the future, offer to reciprocate by stepping in for your colleagues when they need to take off. It is, after all, a two-way street. If possible, remember to bring a token of appreciation for your backups. Let them know you appreciate their going the extra mile for you.

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How do you ensure a stress-free vacation? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Padmaja Ganeshan Singh
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