Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I Know You Are On Vacation, But...

There is always a decent amount of prep work to go away on vacation when you are in a job that never stops, or if you own your own business. How I am envious of the people I know that at 5:01 on any given weekday, leave their job and duties till they sit back down the next business morning.

I had that opportunity once when I wasn't allowed to put the company email on my phone so it would just have to wait till the next business opening hour to be addressed. How I yearn for those days! But when you sell or market, or you own your own business...time is money. I mean, yes I could put my phone down till the next day at 5:01 but it just doesn't work that way. There are some boundaries that you can set, but where is the line??

For two weeks, I planned leaving for 5 days (to NYC) and then leaving the country for 3 days (Bahamas). I told everyone three weeks early that I would be leaving during this time and then personally reminded most the week of. I am fortunate that I can schedule things outward but I really did keep an eye on my email when I was in New York, because to disconnect for me is an impossibility.

What I didn't expect is for certain clients, the day before I was leaving to dump an amazing amount of work on me that could have waited (the day before he gave me restaurant recommendations) .Or the client who emailed me at 11pm that Saturday to update some social media. Or the winner, that someone did call and say "I know you are on vacation, but..." and proceeded to detail what he needed and by when. It just isn't human nature is it? What if it was 1995 and I physically couldn't get back to you til I returned?

When you are a business owner, this puts you in delicate situation, doesn't it? In one breathe it would be nice to say something to this insensitivity or just dare ignore all correspondance until you get back into town but can anyone afford that kind of arrogance in today's economy.

How to save time when you go on vacation:

Do
1. Set a precedence as a business rule. Whether you are on vacation or not, do not answer your phone or email to reply after business hours unless their building is on fire. If you respond or take that call on Saturday, it is automatically assumed that you are ok being interrupted at these times.

2. Tell your clients, even if it the ones that are the most needy that you will be going away, and whether or not you will have access to your email in your absence.

3. Set a boundary for yourself...are you truly disconnecting (Bravo!) or are you just gonna work each morning, much to the glare of your loved ones??

4. Set a vacation message on your email saying when you are leaving, when you will be back, what kind of correspondance they can expect from you in your absence and if there is someone else they can contact.

Don't
1. Feel Guilty! Let yourself take a break. Take one, and feel no remorse about it.

2. Forget about the clients who had no regard for the fact that you are away...you may need to reevaluate your relationship upon your return. Remember you say when, right??

3. Let one thing slip through the cracks in your absence. Work like a dog the days before, have someone check your email and voicemail while you are away, if possible and when you close your computer for the last time before you go away, do so with a certainty that no one will come back and say you let the ball drop because you were away.

4. Forget why you started your business in the first place. The freedom and the ability to make your own decisions...this is a part of that process. Just be clear, set boundaries and Bon Voyage!! Pin It
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