That’s exactly what I did last Wednesday when I hopped a plane from New York to California for two weeks of sunshine and relaxation – and work. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, some careful planning, and a little discipline, I’ve been able to maintain my usual writing schedule while also enjoying my vacation.
Stick to Your Usual Schedule, Mostly
It’s tempting to use your vacation as an excuse to break your regular schedule. Sure, you could stay up late, sleep in, and spend hours exploring a new city or relaxing on the beach, but if you want to keep earning a paycheck while travelling you’ll need to bring some of your usual work-from-home discipline with you.
One useful trick is to maintain the same basic schedule you would at home. If you usually wake up in the morning and get straight to work, do the same thing on vacation. For the past week, I’ve woken up each morning to spend a few hours writing. Then, during the time that I’d usually run errands or play video games, I’ll go for a hike or do something touristy instead.
If you’re going on a vacation with more commitments, you might have to reduce the amount of work you’d normally do and just pick a few key projects to focus on. That’s what I did this January while visiting family in Florida, skipping my usual morning routine but making sure I carved out enough time to finish a few important assignments.
Work in Small Bursts
As hard as you try, you probably won’t be able to reserve as much time for work as you usually do. (And you also may not want to. You are travelling, after all.) Maybe you made plans to see an old friend and they can only meet for lunch, or maybe there’s a tour you really want to go on that starts in the morning. That’s totally fine, as long as you can make up for it some other way.
I’ve found that working in small bursts is the way to go. Find 30 or 40 minutes between activities and do some actual work instead of wasting time Twitter or Instagram. I even managed to crank out a blog post while I waited to board my plane on Wednesday afternoon.
Use Apps to Stay Connected
For most people, working from home wouldn’t be possible at all without the internet, but there are a few apps and programs that can help keep you connected even while you’re travelling.
Slack (or whatever messaging service your co-workers use) is key. Normally, I’d recommend deleting it from your phone when you go on vacation, but if you’re trying to get some work done while on the road, the Slack app is your best friend. It makes it possible to respond to quick requests from your smartphone, so you don’t have to run back to the computer every time something comes up.
Google Drive is also extremely useful for staying organised. Do all your work in Google Docs so you can access it even if you don’t have your personal computer, and keep track of all your assignments and deadlines in Google Sheets.
Finally, if you’re really having trouble staying focused, use Google Calendar to set aside some time. That way you’ll get an alert that will (hopefully) snap you out of your vacation-induced bliss for just long enough to get a little work done before you go back to enjoying your trip.