While working on what鈥檚 supposed to be a relaxing summer vacation is usually a big nope when it comes to establishing and maintaining a healthy work-life balance, there are legit instances where you might need to make yourself available to help your team or your business. This might happen when you鈥檝e planned time off well in advance but want to be part of an exciting project when it鈥檚 actually time to go, when you鈥檙e taking an agreed upon 鈥渉ybrid vacation鈥 that doesn鈥檛 use PTO but allows you to work while traveling, or when you run your own show and have a responsibility to keep your employees and clients in the loop. No matter why you鈥檙e working in the middle of your vacation, there are a few smart strategies you can use to make sure you GSD while still scoring some R&R or seeing the sights.

A woman uses a laptop from the back of a camper van on a beach

1. Craft a helpful out-of-office message. You likely work with others who can pitch in to lend a hand while you鈥檙e away, whether it鈥檚 for a few days or a few weeks. To make your vacation easier for everyone, write a truly communicative auto-reply for your email that clearly notes who is responsible (and reachable) in instances when you would usually play point-person. To top it off, outline the timeframe you鈥檒l be gone and when you expect to check in or be in touch next. Simply setting expectations can save stress; even more, people will appreciate knowing when they鈥檒l hear from you next.

2. Schedule dedicated work time on your personal and team calendars. Will you be working on a single project or handful of things while you鈥檙e away? Prioritizing your tasks and deliverables will help you stay on track and deliver high-quality work. Plan your working schedule at least as seriously as you do in the office or during a day at your desk: Use your calendar to block out chunks of time where you can hunker down to work without any distraction from your BFFs, S.O., or vacation destination. (Even the most strong-willed person can fall victim to poolside treats or a spontaneous night out!) Not only will staying dedicated ease your personal anxiety, but it鈥檒l also remind your coworkers and your boss how much you care, along with how reliable you are in any situation.

A woman sits at a table on a balcony surrounded by greenery

3. Set specific times to respond to email. If you absolutely must work while on vacation, chances are that managing your inbox will play a big part in it. Protect your energy and mental health by setting up (and sticking with) a specific time each day to check in and respond to messages, then communicate that email schedule to your team, clients, vendors, or partners before you鈥檙e officially out. To ensure your downtime isn鈥檛 interrupted, ditch distractions by temporarily disabling email notifications from automatically showing up on your phone. Without the constant ping of push notifications, you鈥檒l retain control of when you want to think about work.

4. Treat your downtime as seriously as you do your work. It doesn鈥檛 matter whether you鈥檙e taking vacation days or managed to earn approval for a work/hybrid type of getaway: You deserve the downtime you鈥檝e planned and should take it as seriously as you the commitment you made to your boss to get specific things done while you鈥檙e away. When you don鈥檛 have work plotted out, make the most of your time away without feeling pangs of guilt. Whether you鈥檙e enjoying sunrise yoga, sipping drinks at sunset, or bonding with family, protect that personal time fiercely to reward yourself for a job well done.

Have you worked on vacation? Tweet us how you managed to stay productive while having fun @BritandCo.

(Photos via Getty)