packed suitcase left on the beach
Look, there’s not one person out there, who would openly recommend working on your summer vacation — no matter how much of a workaholic they are. This is in part due to social faux pas (even our workcentric society still views summer vacation as mostly sacred) and in part due to the fact that if you never take a vacation, you’ll eventually burn out and do your employer no good.

But hey, sometimes that long-ago booked vacation just happens to fall right when you’re in the midst of landing a big client. Or it may happen during a personnel crisis. It could happen when you were in a good flow with a huge project you’ve been jammed up on. Or, worst of all, right when you’ve gotten a new boss who you know you’ve got to impress quickly. In these instances (and many others), working on your summer vacation just might be a necessity. But that doesn’t have to mean sacrificing that vacation altogether. In fact, your break is very much salvageable. This is just as long as you’re as your motivated and as efficient as possible. Here are a few techniques for getting work done efficiently on your summer vacation. This way you can, you know — actually enjoy it.

1. Make the Most of Your Travel Time

If you think of planes, trains and automobiles strictly as modes of transportation, you’re looking at things all wrong. That seven hour plane ride to your tropical getaway is the best place to power through some work without colleagues to distract you — just as long as you don’t pay for internet connection. (Or, do pay for it if you need to send a few emails or work in the cloud — but only if it really will be a productivity boon). And hey, if you’re a passenger in a car or on a train or bus, why not hook your mobile devices up to a mobile ergonomic keyboard and create your own mobile workspace? Doing so means you just might get all of your work done on the way there — or catch up on the way back.

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2. Work Only During Set Times

Your travel buddies will hate you if you’re constantly dashing off to update a project, and rightly so. Instead, try designating certain quieter times for work. It could be early in the morning before everyone’s up. Or possibly in the mid-afternoon when everyone needs to take a little break. Alternatively, if you’re going to be in one place for awhile, you could set aside a full day right in the beginning and power through for 12 hours to get it all done. A marathon day won’t matter much when you can sleep in the next day. Which you can, because hey! It’s vacation!

3. Sort Out Your Internet Ahead of Time

Whether you’ll be working in the cloud and in need of a constant internet connection or you’ll just need something basic to send off a few files, getting internet sorted out ahead of time is key. Most hotels offer connections of course. But they are often weak and charge a hefty price. Although, you might be able to get your company to cover it. Most also offer small conference centers with a computer you can use to connect to the internet. Alternatively, you could convert your phone into a hotspot and tether it to your laptop. Or, if you’re traveling to another country, there’s always the classic internet cafe.

4. Determine What You’ll Work On Ahead of Time

If you’ve got a lot to do, make sure you create a very tight schedule for getting it all done, so that you won’t waste time getting yourself organized. If there’s nothing big on your plate and you’re just concerned about staying in the loop, then again set strict limits on when you check email; do not check it constantly just because you have a smartphone. Note that checking email at all is not advisable. Too often you’ll find yourself sucked right back into the office, adding new tasks onto your plate. However, if it really is a must, ask your colleagues ahead of time to respect your vacation limits and not to ask you for anything while you’re gone unless it’s absolutely urgent.

5. Use a Timer

Boundaries are really key when working on vacation, as “working late” shouldn’t be the same kind of option as it is at home. To prevent overwork, we highly suggest setting a timer for each work session, both to keep you motivated and to remind you to stop when time is up. Because, you know…there’s an actual vacation to enjoy.

Have you ever worked on vacation? If so, how have you set boundaries? Let us know in the blog comments.