3 Steps to Disconnecting From Work and Enjoying Your Vacation

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Full disclosure: I have a serious problem disconnecting from work when I am on vacation...a serious problem! I am an attorney, and I answer not only to my bosses, but also my clients. As such, I have been known to check and respond to emails, and take calls while on vacation, simply because I am worried that I am going to miss something. I call it professional FOMO! The good thing is that I recognize that I have a problem. I also know that many of you suffer from the same affliction...just go ahead and admit it! Because admitting it is the first step in addressing the issue.

So, how do you successfully go on a work-free vacation? I have a few suggestions that I have been implementing (kind of) over the past few years. My method: (1) Plan ahead; (2) Check Twice; and (3) Acknowledge, Reaffirm, and Reassure. 

Plan Ahead!

1. Plan Ahead - It starts here. Two weeks before you are scheduled to go on vacation, send an email around to your colleagues to let them know of your plans. Notify them of when your time out of the office will begin, when you will return to the office, and include the contact information of another colleague that folks can reach out to for assistance in your absence (make sure you ask your colleague to help out before volunteering him/her). Now...here's the most important thing: in the email, be sure to emphasize that you will be on VACATION. In my experience, folks are less likely to disturb you when they know you are on vacation...sometimes! Another suggestion...indicate that you will have little to no access to your cell phone and/or email during the time you are away. I understand that there may be some apprehension to indicating that you may be off the grid for an extended period of time, but folks may be less likely to disturb you when they know that you may not be able to respond to them immediately. If this really concerns you, perhaps you can reach out to certain folks individually to let them know that they may reach out to you if something pressing happens...hopefully, they won't! Your email should look something like this:


Please note that I will be on vacation starting Friday, June 23, 2017. I will return to the office on Monday, July 3, 2017. I will have limited access to my cell phone and email during this time. If you need immediate assistance, please contact Helpful Colleague at hcolleague@mail.com or (222) 222-222. Thanks!


You should send a reminder email two days before you are scheduled to go on vacation, and also set up an automatic reply in your email system. Your automatic reply should reinforce when you will be out of the office, and include your "in case you need assistance while I am out of the office" person's contact information.  The point of all of this is to make your colleagues aware of your impending absence, and allow them ample time to plan around your absence. It also allows them to address any pressing issues that require your input before you leave.

2. Check Twice - If you are anything like me, you still feel obligated to check your email even when you've planned ahead. We can't help ourselves! My suggestion is to check your email at the start of the work day, and at the end of the work day...that's it! Now, the only reason I am advocating this periodic break from vacation is because I am well aware of how difficult it is to enjoy yourself when you think something may be going on in the office. FOMO is so crippling! So just check your messages twice, and move on. Fight the urge to go grab your laptop and start working on something. Don't do it!

3. Acknowledge, Reaffirm, and Reassure - While checking your email, you will certainly encounter a request from someone that will require you to work on something. In these instances, you should acknowledge the request, reaffirm that you are on vacation, and reassure that you will handle the request when you return to the office. You can also give the requester an option that does not include you. Your response should look something like this:

I understand that you need assistance preparing a basking weaving memo. I am currently on vacation, but I am happy to help you out when I return on Monday, July 3rd. If you need immediate assistance, please feel free to reach out to Helpful Colleague at hcolleague@mail.com or (222) 222-222. Have a great day! 

And that's how you do it! Again, I am guilty of working while vacationing. I am, however, actively addressing this affliction, and working on ways to distance myself from the office so that I can decompress and enjoy my vacation. After all, what is the point of planning a trip so that you can take a break from working if you're going to be working while taking a break. Have a great week Divas! 


Cold Office, Hot Weather...Summer Workwear Tips!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Greetings Divas!

Remember a couple of weeks back I was complaining about how cold it is in my office? Well, one of my readers reminded me that I had some pretty good suggestions a couple of years back on how to dress warmly for work when it is scorching hot outside. Check out these options, and feel free to suggest a few more. Enjoy!

For those of you who love a good dress (like me!), pair it with a blazer to keep warm in the office. And then ditch the blazer when you head out into the heat.

Cardigans are great for keeping you warm in the cold office. They come in a variety of different styles and colors, so feel free to pair the with pants and dresses.

The cardigan and tank combo works well skirts.


Sweatworking Is The New Networking!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

True story...I was at a conference when I ran into a former client-turned-girlfriend while checking into the host hotel. She had already been there for a few hours, and she was dressed in workout clothes. Naturally, I assumed that she was heading to the hotel's sports club. After exchanging mutual "hey girls" and briefly catching up with the going ons in our respective families, she told me she was on her way to sweatwork with potential clients...I had questions. But I knew I was going to see her later on at the conference welcome reception, so I waited.

A few hours later at said welcome reception, I found myself in a corner chatting with my girlfriend about this whole sweatworking thing. Apparently, sweatworking (as the name suggests) is the act of networking while working out and breaking a sweat. It has gained popularity over the last few years as an alternative to the usual happy hour...or welcome reception. Much like traditional networking events, the participants are invited to join in on group-oriented fitness sessions while mingling. In some instances, the fitness session is followed by a reception of some sought where participants can catch their breath, partake in post-workout-friendly drinks, smoothies, and snacks, and exchange business cards. It really is a different approach to getting to know folks. One that is conducive to our ever-growing health conscious society.

Interestingly, many health and fitness centers have offered their facilities for sweatworking sessions in much of the same way that restaurants, bars, and hotels offer their facilities for professional events. CrossFit boxes, spinning and rowing studios, and yoga centers are all fertile ground for one to host a sweatworking event. If you are looking to plan and event, simply nail down a location, send out your invites (with instructions to wear activity-appropriate clothing), and wait for the sweat to pour. If you are looking to attend a sweatworking event, reach out to my good friend Google and search for sweatworking events in your area. It's a great way for busy professionals with limited time to kill two birds with one stone. 

Also, sweatworking is not just for big groups. You may also want to invite a current or potential contact to personally attend a workout session with you so that you may discuss business during or after the session; similar to the networking that occurs on a golf course. In these instances, shoot for a workout in which you know your contact participates. For example, if a potential client is known to frequent a barre class, invite him or her to join you for a barre session followed by a light dinner. The point here is to break the proverbial ice during the workout so you can ease into the business chat during dinner.

So what do you think? Would you ever participate in a sweatworking event? Would you plan one? I personally love the idea! It's so much more appealing to me than traditional networking. But, that's just my opinion!


Sleep Your Way to the Top...Read On!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

"And we women are going to lead the way in this new revolution, this new feminist issue. We are literally going to sleep our way to the top, literally."

"...I urge you to shut your eyes and discover the great ideas that lie inside us, to shut your engines and discover the power of sleep."

                                                                                              - Arianna Huffington

I am sleep-deprived...I'm sure many of you are! After a long day at the office (which pays the bills), I come home to my beautiful Mini-Me and start my next shift (which is the best job ever!). My day usually starts around 5:30 a.m., and I usually fall asleep around 1:00 a.m. All in all, I typically get around four and a half hours of sleep each night; more on the weekends. I know that I should clock in a few more hours, and my body knows it, too. 

So imagine my surprise when I came across Arianna Huffington's TED Talk, which essentially promotes the power of sleep to recharge one's mental batteries, and be better in our respective workplaces. One of the things Arianna mentioned is how one's lack of sleep has become a thing of pride. And she's right! I can easily recall some of my good friends and colleagues bragging that they work so hard, and that they can sleep when they're dead. And when you tell them that you too are involuntarily sleep-deprived, they give you the side eye. When did sleep become the enemy!

While I appreciate the concepts of hard work and dedication, I know that I am personally more productive, sharp, and efficient when I've gotten a good night's rest. I work faster, focus better, and I am definitely less cranky. I am almost positive that I am a better professional on 6 hours of sleep than I am on 4 hours of sleep. So why should I feel bad about getting that extra hour...or two?

But this is just my opinion! Check out Arianna's TED Talk below (it's really short), and let me know what you think! Have a great week!

How to Rock Your Internship (And Maybe Get a Permanent Gig)!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Greetings Divas! We are right at the beginning of July, and a few weeks into internship season (depending on where you are located on the globe!). All across the country college students, recent college graduates, and professional school students are interning for the summer (or longer). In many cases, these individuals are hoping to transform their internships into a permanent position. Believe me when I tell you that I have been in this position on several occasions. I was once that intern looking for a permanent job after graduation, or, at minimum, a glowing recommendation from my supervisor. So…for those of you currently navigating the intern pool, her are a few tips for rocking your internship and possibly securing a permanent position!

1. Show Up On Time Every Day...Which Means Arrive Early – “Who does that!” is the question many of you asked when you read this one. While this may seem like a no-brainer, you’d be surprised how many interns kill their chances of obtaining a permanent position by showing up late. You are doing yourself a disservice by showing up to your internship late. Not only are you being extremely unprofessional, but you are sending a signal to your supervisor that the internship is not important to you. Additionally, tardiness is the first cousin of unreliable...and neither one of these relatives will be invited to the next family function. The rule of thumb remains the same: to be early is to be on time; to be on time is to be late; and to be late is unacceptable. 

2. Show Interest In the Company - Ask questions about the company. Learn about its history. Be familiar with its products. Let your supervisors know that you are interested in the company, and that you are personally vested in its success. You do not want to give the impression that the internship is merely a resume-filler...those who approach an internship in this manner rarely get a permanent offer.

3. Always Turn In Stellar Work Product - You do want a permanent position, right? So do great work! Give your superiors no other choice but to offer you a permanent position. Treat each assignment like your professional life depends on it. Ask enough questions so that you have all the necessary information to complete your assignments, and be sure to hand them in on time. If the company you are interning with is not in the position to offer you a permanent position, your supervisor may be willing to give you a recommendation if your work product is fabulous!

4. Attend Company Events - Many companies are known to have special activities and events for its interns. Barring any real emergency, you should attend all of these events. Not only is it a great way to network and meet other key company players, but it is also the perfect opportunity for company employees to get to know you...to gauge how you would fit in with the current employees. Enjoy these events, but also treat them like an extension of your internship...remember that you are always being evaluated!
5. Adhere to the Dress Code and Other Company Policies - During your internship, you want to be recognized for you stellar work product...not for your inability to abide by company policies. And certainly not for your inappropriate work attire. Make it a point to review your company's dress code and other policies to ensure that you are giving your supervisor the right impression...that you respect the company's culture and that you are willing and able to abide by its policies.

6. Resist the Urge to Surf the Web – Perhaps this should have been number 1 on my list! I know this is difficult, but please avoid using the company computer to surf the Internet for non-work-related content. You should especially avoid the Bermuda Triangle of Social Media: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Even more offensive…exploring the Bermuda Triangle all day from your personal phone. As a general rule, you should review and commit to memory your company's Internet use policy, if they have one, and you should strictly adhere to it.

7. Keep in Touch When Your Internship Is Complete - When your internship is completed, keep in touch with your supervisor and other company employees that you worked closely with during your tenure. Be sure to send them thank you cards when your internship is done, and exchange periodic correspondence. If the company is not in a position to offer you a permanent gig at the end of your internship, keeping in contact with company employees is a great way to ensure that you are "kept in mind" if and when a position becomes available.

I think that’s all! Good luck on your internships; and hopefully it leads to bigger and better things.

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