The Art of a Working Vacation

“The Art of a Working Vacation”
by Michael Aaron Gallagher

As any successful professional will tell you, there’s an art to doing business on vacation. Even though I had a two-week trip to Florida planned, I wasn’t just going to let the time go by without a purpose. In fact, the vacation was going to be as productive as any other work day.

So what is the art of a working vacation? There are a five important tips to making the most of your “time off” work:

1. Help those things that help themselves. The easiest way to make progress on vacation is to find the projects that require very little input from you to keep themselves going. For example, during my recent trip, I continued to monitor my email correspondence. There’s no need to use your cell phone and play an endless game of phone tag. Slow things down over email and provide yourself with valuable leisure time, while you still conduct important business.

2. When in doubt, ask. The right questions often reveal new opportunities. As I worked on a new project, I had trouble knowing where to go get the information I needed in order to complete it. Instead of wasting time trying to solve the problem myself, I started asking questions. Not only was I able to complete the project, but I also learned a more efficient way to go about the task that would save me time in the future.

3. Don’t get distracted. It’s easy to get sidetracked, especially when you’re on vacation. Sometimes the new routine makes you forget your priorities. Make sure you set an agenda, and stick to it. Stay focused on what you set out to accomplish, and work as hard as you play.

4. Always have a Plan B. It never fails to surprise me how many times I forget to create a Plan B. We often invest so much time and effort into our initial planning process that we forget to create a contingency plan just in case something goes wrong. Don’t get stressed when things don’t go the way you planned them. When you’re on vacation you can expect things to go wrong, because you’re in a new environment with new rules. So even if Plan B doesn’t work the way you anticipated, be flexible and roll with the punches.

5. Finally, remember to have fun. The best ideas come to an open mind. If you want to create new solutions, then embrace the vacation as an opportunity to recharge your creativity. Take every opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things. You will be surprised by what you find, and with the right outlook you may just learn something new.

Whether you’re on a business trip or on a trip doing business, there’s no better way to achieve your goals than to apply the same work ethic you have at work to your vacation. After all, why not have the best of both worlds?

“The Art of a Working Vacation”
Copyright © 2008 by Michael Aaron Gallagher

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