Wednesday, August 07, 2013

How to Hack a Work Week While on Vacation

If you're trying to make a workday while on vacation, then you probably aren't really on vay-cay, but trying to work away from home with small children in tow.  Welcome to my summer. Now that I'm about five weeks in, I've found that this is totally doable.

The first thing I did was set up a workspace. A do-not-touch area that was off limits to...everyone. I needed to be able to go back and fourth into my work quickly, without a lot of ramp-up time.

A few things didn't go well. Before we left home, I spent a little time trying to envision the day, and for a week, we kept the schedule, and then we gave way to summer. With the schedule completely out the window, I decided to use a daily checklist so that I could keep my work moving forward. I didn't like this system as much as the schedule, but again, I am moving forward.

About half-way in, I bought a cheap printer. This is probably the biggest concession I made, but it helped me a lot.

So, here's how the system worked--more or less.

1. I used a lot of sticky notes for lists. I threw away the notes as I completed the task. Right now, I have a tabled sorted with teaching materials I'm working on for business & technical writing.

2. and 3. I brought my favorite pens and notepads with me and those are stuffed everywhere--from my beach bag to the bag I take with me every time we leave the house.

4. I get up (as New Englanders say) wicked early. Before my kids wake up, I've logged about 4 hours of work. And then I have several ways of getting 2-4 more hours out of the day. I try to do this seven days a week, which means I'm getting about 38-42 hours a week. It's working, and most days I feel fine.

5. I am trying to be flexible. And sometimes, with a swimming pool a few feet beyond me, I give in to summer.

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