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  • Writer's pictureLacy Starling

#213: True Time Off

Last week, I was in Arizona for some much-needed vacation time. I've written before about how I used to think that being a hard worker meant that you didn't *need* to take time off. (I've also written about how I used to be an idiot.) Now, I make sure to unplug at least a couple weeks a year, to recharge and gain perspective. But taking true time off requires discipline.

In our 24/7 connected world, people can reach me any number of different ways—email, text, social media messaging, phone calls, etc.—and if I'm going to truly be out, I need to make sure that I'm setting clear boundaries and sticking to them. It's too easy to say that I'm going to be "out," but still check my email and respond to work calls, etc.

And no matter what the reason someone has for reaching out to you—whether it is something they think is an emergency, or they don't believe that you are actually OUT out, or they forgot, or they assume you'll just respond when you return—it is up to YOU to enforce your boundaries and make sure that you get the time off you need.

My methods never change. I set auto-responders everywhere I can, so folks know that I'm out, I don't check phone messages, and if someone texts me with a request, I either wait to respond until I'm back, or I tell them that I'm out, and they should send me an email that I can respond to when I get back.

Basically, I get out the giant fly-swatter and bat away any and all interruptions on my private time. I don't want to be bugged when I'm trying to recharge, and I have a right to unplug and rest. The flip side of this is that when one of my folks (employee, client, partner, etc.) is out, I provide them the same respect. I set the example that time off is normal, and needed, and then I encourage everyone I know to get it.


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