Public Relations Blog

Happy Summer Vacation! 5 Things PR People Can Do To Keep Sane While Away

You made it.  The big day is finally here and you are headed out of town for a little bit of rest and relaxation.  But even though you try to schedule time off when the world is in slow mo’ it’s still very difficult to “unplug.”  In fact, I would say checking out completely is more nerve-wracking than actually making a plan to address work in a reasonable way while you are on vacation.

Sometimes though, the best of intentions can’t keep you from a media crisis, like the time I had to deal with producers at the Today show while at Busch Gardens in Virginia.  Or the time I had to walk a client through a national media booking from the porch of a general store in North Carolina.

Barring any emergencies, here are 5 things you can do to keep sane and to make re-entry as pain-free as possible:

  1. Make a list of what you want to get done before you leave, and a list of what you are going to do the week you get back.  The “before you leave” list is clear, but more importantly, start thinking of what will need to be done when you return so you have some organization in place.
  2. Download files from your work computer. If you work on a computer at the office, make sure you download anything you might need onto a USB drive.  This way if someone wants a press release or a file and there isn’t anyone else to send it, you will be able to fulfill the request.  Even if you don’t have a personal laptop to bring along, there are internet cafés everywhere.
  3. Arrange for a roaming plan on your phone. This is especially true if you are traveling internationally.  Roaming charges are steep for cell phones, but many carriers offer packages that limit the cost/minute of phone time and allow for some data downloads.  You still need to wrestle the phone away from your tween and teen, but you can be available for emergencies without having to worry about hundreds of dollars on your phone bill.
  4. Out of office on your computer.  This may seem like common sense, but you may forget to do it anyway.  Leave an out-of-office on your email and make sure it sends “once per email address.”  There is nothing more annoying than repeatedly getting messages from someone who is not there!  Make sure to explain that you are on vacation and that so-and-so can be reached to help with immediate needs.  Or you can say you are checking email daily, but for emergencies you can be reached at “x” number.  Most people won’t call you.
  5. Check email twice a day. In his book The 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss says that you need to limit the amount of times you check your email in order to be more efficient.  What better time to practice this approach than vacation?  So instead of hitting that “inbox” button over and over when you are waiting for someone to get back to you, plan on reading emails in the morning and in the late afternoon or early evening.

BONUS TIP: Relax, have fun, and enjoy this well-deserved respite.  Being in your shoes myself, I am sure you deserve it!