Dear Latimer: Prepping for a Good Vacation

Hello friends! We are continuing our latest blog tradition of fielding your questions about effective communication.

In the future, if you have a question you want to engage us on, send away! Just email us directly with your question. When we get a question from you we will always answer directly back to you. And when appropriate, we will publish your question and our answer on our blog (always with your permission, and anonymously if requested). Our goal here is to give you some quick support and share some of our answers with the entire Latimer Community.

So, fire away with those questions, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great day! ~Dean and Team Latimer

Dear Dean and Team Latimer. You recently wrote a piece about some things you realized while on vacation. You seemed like you were able to disconnect and really free your mind to think about things from a fresh angle. My question (or comment) is that it is really hard to mentally take vacation, even when you are physically on one. How do you force yourself into “vacation mode”?

  • Ryan

Hey Ryan.

This is not easy. Lots of people struggle with it. Especially me. Here are some things I have learned, and try really hard to do:

  1. Prioritize in my final days. My ability to enjoy my vacation starts well before the vacation actually starts. I decide which things I need to get done before I go, which things I need to pass off, and which things can wait. And do my very best to prioritize my final days of work on the things that absolutely MUST be done before I go. Certainly not always easy to do this. But super helpful when we can. In other words, what I am really saying is that a good vacation starts days before you physically depart the office.
  2. Discuss with colleagues. I try really hard to create a culture where people can enjoy their vacation. So, I always encourage people to share with their colleagues what their priority status of their “to do list” is before they leave. I absolutely try to engage my colleagues in my ability to check out during vacation. And I offer to do the same for them. Here are some things you could keep an eye on for me while I am gone… Discussions like that create a collaborative approach to vacation mode. And then you must do the same for others when they are out on vacation.
  3. Turn on the OOO. Sounds so obvious… but I know many people who don’t, and then end up feeling like they need to field emails the entire time they are away.
  4. List a colleague in your OOO. Also probably obvious. But I see lots of OOO messages that don’t mention anyone else to contact. Our team always does that… we always give the sender of the email someone else to reach out to in our absence. This is better for the client. And it gives peace of mind to the person trying to be on vacation.
  5. Turn off email and chat alerts. We use Microsoft Teams for our internal chats. And turning off the alerts for those exchanges is critical to checking out. If you don’t do that, then your phone will be pinging all day long as your colleagues collaborate in your absence. Hard to disconnect with your phone pinging all day long.
  6. Hide the phone. Speaking of the phone… I will actually hand it over to my wife from time to time when on vacation, and tell her to “hide this.” I can’t do that for very long (how else will I keep track of the Yankees or my fantasy football team?), but for short periods of time, especially at the beginning of vacation, when you are building your vacation behaviors, this short, forced disconnect can be so powerful.

But the final and most important point is that you need to come up with your own intentional plan for enjoying vacation. This is a list of some of the things I do. But not all of this may be practical for you. So make your own list. Be thoughtful. Make a plan. Because unless you plan for it intentionally, you probably won’t be able to disconnect sufficiently for your vacation.

Good luck!

  • Dean

Does your team:
– Take too long to make decision?
– Fail to ask for what it wants or needs from you?
– Make things too complicated?
– Deliver unconvincing or disorganized presentations?
– Have new hires who are unprepared to communicate in the workplace?

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Dean Brenner

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.