Work/ Life Balance
Working on Vacation is hard. Not working for 6 weeks is harder.
I put it in my brain that I would get as much done as I could before I left for a month long European whirlwind, and anything else that popped up I would manage while I was gone. So I scheduled Facebook posts, wrote out reports in advance, and turned on my vacation responder for 42 days.
The first week I was gone I completely ignored almost every e-mail and Facebook notification. I'd check in only when an airport offered free wifi. Obviously, this isn't very sustainable, however, it was refreshing not feeling pressured to grab my phone every time it dinged. I knew I had to stay up to date, but I had worked hard to be able to take the entire week off and be present where I was. No crisis arose so I bounced from Paris to Venice to Rome without much thought to campaigns or reports.
By week 2 my sister, of Harp & Spice, had joined us in Sicily. Having someone else working on vacation motivated me to get things done and I started to dig out of the pile of e-mails on my inbox. We'd both sit for an hour or so in the morning before everyone else was awake and finish what work we could. I wrote more reports and created more content. This was my most balanced week of the trip. Work did not cut into our vacation time and vacation activities did not take anything away from work. The third week went by pretty much the same way.
Once I reached week 4 I was scheduling meetings, responding to e-mails despite a 6 hour time difference (sorry everyone for the odd times I e-mailed you), and gearing up to get straight back into work. When I had a free moment I was back to checking my phone and using the majority of our data plan.
At home, however, I did not go straight back into work. In fact I went straight to Pittsburgh for a weekend wedding and then threw a party. Luckily, my vacation responder was still on and our intern kept me up to date on what needed my attention.
Then I crashed really hard, slept for a Sunday and turned off the automated e-mail response.
Things I learned: Never turn your vacation responder on for 42 days.