I cringe with regret looking back at some of my biggest ‘fail’ vacations. My family sat around impatiently waiting to explore Tuscany while I finished publishing an urgent article and complained about the edit of my latest column.
I vividly remember taking client calls at the top of the Eiffel Tower. And I also remember being glued to my laptop in a Las Vegas hotel room while my friends blissed out on floats in the pool below. I’ve also been guilty of:
having work-related anxiety attacks in Times Square
checking my inbox every five minutes at the Prague Opera House
posting social media updates while my boyfriend explored the Brighton Lanes by himself
Did any of these things grow my business? Perhaps prevent a world crisis? Or maybe, earn me more money? Hell to the no!
Did it strain relationships with loved ones? Steal hours of beauty, adventure and wonder away from me? Waste thousands of pounds on flights and gorgeous accommodation to sit at a desk doing exactly what I do at home? Yes!
I’ll never get that time back. But I’ve learned from those experiences and went on to enjoy unforgettable, revitalizing vacations (not workcations) once I nailed some savvy vacation strategies!
Here’s a look at six tips for work-obsessed entrepreneurs who want to banish woeful workcations.
1. Schedule all content marketing in advance
Schedule social media and content posts before you leave. Use Hootsuite or similar marketing automation tools. This way you can remain present and continue to add value on your feeds … and work on your tan at the same time.
2. Keep the day before your vacation free
Leave the day before you leave completely free. Mark it in your calendar as a time to deal with last minute miscellaneous things that may come up. You don’t want to start your holiday putting out fires remotely in the departure lounge – or on the plane!
3. Communicate your absence with clients, employees and colleagues
Make sure all parties know that you’ll be out of the office before you leave. This will help prepare them for your absence. Also, make sure your team is clear on which tasks to complete while you’re away. Set clear boundaries about your availability in advance and stick to them without apology. Don’t forget to set your email auto-responder and voicemail with your return date.
4. Create a specific but flexible itinerary
Try to avoid vague, unstructured time. Otherwise the temptation to work or process your inbox wins out. Plan visits to specific attractions or hot spots, rather than lounging by the hotel pool with your laptop and hotel Wi-Fi close by. Be present and fully in the moment with the people you love – you deserve it and so do they!
5. Turn on your vacation mindset
A vacation mindset is something some of us have to work harder on than others. Create windows of quiet reflection when you’re away, just as you should when you’re working. Pick a quiet spot each morning with a beautiful view, away from noise and distractions. Feed each of your senses: acknowledge the breeze on your skin, the smell of freshly baked food, sparkling waves, breakfast honey lingering on your lips. Take slow, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Some of my favorite affirmations include:
I worked hard for this time
I deserve this time
Time away from my business helps my business
I work to live, not live to work
I trust (and have prepared) my colleagues, employees and clients to cope without me
My loved ones deserve my undivided attention
Nothing is as urgent as my present well-being and creating magical memories
I welcome opportunities for relaxation and adventure
This is my time
Add any other mindful statements that are meaningful to you, and review them every morning of your holiday – and every evening, too, if you need to.
6. Create an ’emergency only’ check-in time slot
If you simply have to check in on things or oversee something specific (and it’s completely unavoidable), be strict about how much time it gets. One hour after breakfast with your family gives you time to share feedback, delegate tasks or Skype your team. Then the rest of the day should be 100% free of work distractions.
Bon Voyage my friends! Savour every moment.
Robin Harrie is a Mindset Coach and Stress Strategist who has turned multi-tasking into an art form. She defied a Type 1 Bipolar diagnosis and crippling PTSD to become the Editor-in-Chief of a thriving arts publication, a digital marketing trainer with a high-profile client list, an elite private tutor, and a popular coach for overwhelmed female entrepreneurs.
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