Working while on vacation SUCKS — even when you work for yourself. But, do you know what is worse? Working, while on vacation, with three kids all under the age of six. Oh…you haven’t tried that yet? Well, you can borrow mine and don’t worry, it will be a blast!
What are they like? Well, there is one who is so curious that every conversation with her feels like an interrogation, another who should live in a helmet and doesn’t understand what an “inside voice” is and another who thinks she is ready for American Ninja Warrior and so she practices climbing on everything in her sight, despite the fact that she is only one and a half.
Oh? You changed your mind? You no longer want to try it? Hmm…I don’t understand why?
Okay. Okay. We all know that kids make getting work done so hard, in so many ways. Want specifics? Well, you can read about my daily struggle with that in The Reality Of Working From Home (With Kids). Still, when kids are on vacation, they are even more excitable, energetic, silly, crazy, demanding and whiny — you name it, THEY ARE IT.
Still, I immensely love those Delightfully Difficult, Exhaustingly Entertaining, and Chaotically Charming kiddos. But, I do NEED tips and tools for working around them and their pandemonium, especially when I am trying to be productive during the small amount of work time I have alloted to myself while on vacation. Businesses don’t just run themselves and when the only “man” you are working for is yourself, well, then gosh darn it, there is no real “vacation time”.
So, based on my real-life experiences, here are some tips for you if you still have to manage to get some work done, while on vacation with your children:
- Prepare, prepare, prepare. I cannot emphasize enough that if you plan your work with your vacation in mind, you will be ahead of the game. Do what you can now, beforehand, to ensure that the work, which you will inevitably have to tackle while you are gone, is organized, easily accessible, and already partly completed, if possible.
- Prep your family that you will not be completely “unplugged” on vacation. If you do not do this, you will have one very unhappy spouse, as well as grumpy kids to deal with.
- Be productively pessimistic. What do I mean by this? Before you leave for vacation, I want you to think about what the worst case scenarios could be. What if you forget your power cord and your computer dies? What if you receive an unexpected client call? What if you need to immediately respond to something but your child is mid-tantrum? Do you have a general and logical planned response for each of these scenarios? Well, you need to.
- Wake up early or stay up late. YOU. WILL. NOT. LIKE. THIS. ONE. Especially not on vacation. But, if you choose to wake up early, before your spouse and before the kiddies rise, then you will have some precious and rare, uninterrupted, distraction-free time to complete your tasks. And, by you doing such, you are freeing up your availability for the rest of the day. Don’t want to wake up early? Then be sure to schedule into your day, at least an hour before bed, to tackle what you could not get to in the morning or the rest of the day.
- Let go…a little. This one is hard, I know. But, you have to be flexible and have faith that the world is not going to end because you took a very well-deserved break.
- When you are not working, be fully present. Turn it off. Turn your work dial ALL THE WAY OFF. Give to your family the full attention and presence they so surely deserve.
Jason Pollock, an IT consultant in Brooklyn, who is a member of USA TODAY’s Road Warrior panel, stated in an article on USA Today titled “Do you work on vacation? You’re not alone,” that:
“I’ve found it hard to draw a distinct line between my work life and my personal life…keeping nights, weekends, vacations and holidays sacred has always been a challenge.”
Pollack, sir, you are not alone…