Cash Smarter

May 23, 2016  by: Aaron Crowe

Doing Work on Vacation is a Horrible Idea

Doing Work on Vacation is a Horrible Idea

Doing work on vacation can sound like the best of both worlds: You’re relaxing at a beach, for example, while getting some work done on your laptop so that you can afford the vacation you’re on.

It’s also a way to let the boss — if you have one — know that you’re a serious worker who goes above and beyond the call of duty to get work done whenever needed.

If you’re doing some work on vacation you’re not alone. A survey found that 61 percent of people do some work while on vacation. Another survey found that 35 percent of millennials worked every day of their vacation.

As a freelance writer who works for myself, I’ve found other entrepreneurs who take pride in cramming in some work while on vacation. I know a freelancer who is traveling in Europe now with his family while setting aside a few hours each day to work.

There’s always some work to be done, whether you work for yourself or someone else, and time off from work is more time to get work done.

Connectivity expectations

But is this the way to spend time off? Do you want to be available every hour of the day and spend time that should be for relaxing in front of a computer? Do you want sand in your computer?

Smartphones, Wi-Fi everywhere and laptop computers that can run all day on a single charge make keeping in touch with clients or the home office easy.

I own a mobile hotspot that gives me a mobile Wi-Fi connection practically anywhere. But I didn’t buy it to work at the beach for a week. I bought it so I can get out of the house and work a few hours outdoors.

What working on vacation is like

I worked on one short vacation, and while it wasn’t a major trip abroad with my family that we had spent months planning, I do regret working during it.

I was in Arizona for a weekend to attend my nephew’s graduation from college. It was a last-minute trip and I had some work to do during it. For a few hours each day, I holed up in a hotel room and did some writing for a client. It wasn’t so bad, but it wasn’t fun, either.

Instead of doing anything but working — reading, swimming, visiting with family or a number of other fun things — I spent a few precious hours working while in a city I should have been exploring. It didn’t add up to much time away from graduation events, but it was enough that I’d rather be doing something else.

That’s one thing I think people forget when they’re away on holiday — time is short. If the point of a vacation is to relax or do something fun, then it’s worth remembering that you’re only at that spot for a limited amount of time and you want to take advantage of it. More is better when it comes to time off.

Doing work during a vacation defeats the purpose of vacation — to relax. Is work relaxing? Rarely.

I’d rather work hard before I start a vacation and get work done ahead of time than spend any time during a vacation working. It’s time off I’ve earned and I’ll be a more relaxed, better worker when I return from vacation.

Have you ever taken a walk around the block at work to clear your mind for a bit and give your brain a rest? Solutions to problems can come more easily when your brain takes a break from them. Consider a vacation a long walk around the block. Both you and your employer will be better for it.

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