Hi, I'm Deidre. In my posts, I talk about my voyage down the road of self-employment as a copywriting partner to designers, my achievements and roadblocks along the way, and what I’m learning as I go (with Marketing Mentor as my guide).
Sometimes I leave early on Friday or take a mini-vacation to Starbucks, but thanks to iPhones, it’s pretty invisible to my clients. I’m available, I’m working, and I’m here when they need me.
But with a two-week trip to Ireland coming up, I’d like to unplug. How to do it? I got this idea from Stephanie Helline, who announces her vacations in advance. About 3 weeks before my trip, I added this message to my email signature:
Please note: I'll be traveling to the Emerald Isle from April 8-19th. Let's make a plan to keep projects moving forward smoothly (so we don't need to rely entirely on the luck of the Irish).
As I’m starting to pack my bags, work is under control. The message really helped! It:
- Made it okay to say, “I can’t do this now.”
- Put clients in the loop, and gave them some control.
- Prevented last-minute surprises.
- Left time to plan and come up with other options.
- Lessened client disappointment (and my own guilt).
Most of the time, you don’t get “out of office” messages until people are already gone. I found this way to be much more effective. I have 3 projects lined up for my return. And I didn’t feel bad, guilty or awkward at all.
Everyone was accepting, flexible, and supportive of my trip. Actually, I’ve been instructed to “drink a Guinness” for a number of clients. (Being the good partner that I am, I will of course fulfill that request.)
Pretty much, you can do anything as long as you communicate. Advance communication is always better than after the fact, but both work.
When you go on vacation, how do you handle it? Any tips?