vacation strategies


There are some jobs where vacations are a straight-out myth. If you’re the CEO of a public company or the leader of a country, you can be out there golfing but let’s be honest, vacation? Nah. Chances are very good that at least once a day something significant enough to require your involvement will pop up. Salmonella recall, North Korea, something.

The rest of us need to get a life and take vacations without checking emails or thinking about work.

By “rest of us” I mean me.

I have become so much better at letting work drift out of my mind when I am away, I will give myself that. But even last week on a nice trip to Newfoundland with our daughter, a couple of times I got worked up about something I spotted coming in on email. Argh!! I ended up semi-dealing with it and that really doesn’t make sense.

I have children I adore, a cat who has me wrapped around her tail, and a house that could burn down with all its contents. Do I worry about these people or possessions when Andrew and I are away? Not a bit because I know there is always that device…what is it called now…oh yes, a phone…whereby I can be reached at anytime in an emergency. Andrew also has this device and people looking for me would quickly call him if I didn’t answer.

I know my focus on work – currently Prairie Girl – goes back to my family’s focus on it and I don’t even mind that I was raised to work hard. Working hard has its perks. But I am determined to come up with strategies for leaving emails and work-think alone during breaks. In September we are taking our first 8 day holiday since opening PGB – to Italy! – so I am motivated.

Some ideas that come immediately to mind are:

  • use an out of office alert – I always did this when I worked at a bank but rarely have since opening my own business
  • literally turning off emails on my phone so I don’t see them come in (out of sight, out of mind)
  • telling people who would email/call if anything big happened  that I won’t have email turned on so to use texts/calls if they need to read me
  • #1 strategy: deliberately turn my mind away from a work-related path before it goes too far. Once I am deep into thought on a work issue, it’s hard to turn back. 

That is all I have…please let me know if you have a vacation strategy that works for you!




About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean is the president of Toronto's best cupcake and cake bakery - Prairie Girl Bakery. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock


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