How To Work On Vacation

You’ve read all the articles about “unplugging” on vacation—but you know you aren’t going to do it. Here’s the thing: If you don’t chill out and enjoy your hard-earned vacation, odds are you’re going to burn out, and that helps no one. Glance through these hard and fast dos and don’ts of working on vacation, and you’ll come back to work feeling refreshed and ready to breeze through every goal on your list.

work on vacation
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DO find a #2 for your out-of-office response. Don’t leave ‘em hanging with a generic "Thanks for your email! I’m currently out of the office and look forward to responding upon my return." The best OOO message includes someone, anyone to field urgent or easy-to-fulfill requests. Find a buddy, with the intention that you’ll return the favor one day, and you’ll come back to work with happier clients—and a much prettier (read: less voluminous) inbox.

DON’T get super personal about why you’re out of the office. A sweet, “I’m enjoying my honeymoon!” is fine, but “I’m getting crunked off piña coladas with my hot new hubbie #lovers #marriage” is better left unsaid.

DO pick a daily check-in time and tell your boss. Pick one window when you’re game to check your work e-mail (the 4 pm slot is a nice hour, when most people are taking naps après-beach), and stick to it. Your boss will appreciate knowing when she can plan to hear back from you — and therefore will be unlikely to bother you otherwise.

DON’T check your email 24/7 and answer incoming messages anyway. Cave once, and it sets the precedence that your coworkers can bother you at any time during your precious, hard-earned vacation. And they will.

DO jump on a project if you have to. That said, if you check your e-mail at 4 pm and you really do need to jump on something, by all means, take action. Go into a private space where you won’t feel distracted and can get through the issue as soon as possible. They don’t call you a beast for nothing. But…

DON’T complain about it afterward. Finish your work, and then put it out of sight, out of mind. A piña colada isn’t a bad idea right now.

DO post lots of photos on Instagram. It’s your vacation, and you can post yourself swimming with dolphins if you want to. But…

DON’T add a caption that says how excited you are because you’re not at work right now. It’s just poor form. 

DO jot down new ideas as they come to you. You are relaxed, after all, and might just feel a burst of inspiration while you’re getting a deep tissue massage. Or so I hear.

DON’T let that be an excuse to open your laptop for hours on end. If an inspirational moment does strike, jot it down in that adorable Moleskine notebook of yours, and promise yourself that you’ll hash it out upon your return.

This article originally appeared on and is reprinted by permission from, ©2015. All rights reserved.

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