Do You Need to Take a Work Vacation? - Amber Hurdle | Globally Recognized Leadership & Personal Branding Expert

Do You Need to Take a Work Vacation?

March 10, 2015

After returning from my “short” cruise only to be be snowed OUT of Nashville for a few extra days, followed by juggling work with my son’s random snow days, let’s just say I felt a little discombobulated upon returning to my office.

Never one to put off client needs, yet still desiring to attack my own operational goals, I was feeling a little overwhelmed. So, I joked to my assistant that I needed a “work vacation.” Meaning, I needed to get away to just focus on knocking out project work without any interruption.

My very next thought was, “WHY THE HECK NOT?!”

Preparing For a Work Vacation

I realized in that moment that feeling overwhelmed was my choice and that there was no reason why I couldn’t take a work vacation, especially since the corporate leg of my business is niched in the hospitality industry.

So, I immediately emailed a dear friend, secured a room at a gorgeous resort and began to prepare for my one-night project-focused stay. (Thank you…you know who you are…and I love you!)

I packed all of the files and equipment that I would need, then topped my briefcase off with a note that had three priorities on it. I didn’t allow myself to pack anything that wasn’t relevant to those items, nor would I allow myself to take my attention off of those items once I started my “vacation.”

How to Maximize a Work Vacation



When I arrived, I pulled out my gear, setup my workspace on the balcony overlooking inspiring waterfalls, set out my top three priorities reminder and then set my online timer for my first twenty-minute work interval.

Why a timer?

Because if I’m working on anything that isn’t visionary or creative, I have the attention span of a gnat. That’s why I have tools, such as this, to help me remain focused, and then I reward myself with a quick two to three-minute break.

Rewards included getting up for a glass of wine, hoping on social media or having a solo dance party to get my energy up and legs stretched.

What? I can’t help myself when David Guetta + Usher are pumping through my noise-cancelling earphones! (Seriously, I deserved an audience because I killed that performance!) 🙂

Anyway, I never once left the room. I even ordered room service to be sure I could work through dinner. All afternoon/evening I worked twenty-minutes on, two to three minutes off, until 1:30 a.m.


You see, I LOVE working at night. I’m at my absolute best. Seriously, I could plan and accomplish world-domination any time after 10:00 p.m. So that’s why, like just a normal vacation, I set up my activities to suit ME.

Results of a Work Vacation

Honoring that I am not exactly a morning person (because I could), I leisurely got up, wrapped up a few things from the night before, packed my bags and checked out.

The result? I knocked a MAJOR dent on the most pressing project, and importantly reset my focus and my work rhythm.

Since then I’ve felt like I’ve got a good handle on my workload after weeks of feeling “behind” on my non-client facing goals. A bonus was personal discoveries that were made in the process. All good things. It was the best time investment I’ve made in a month or more!

If you want to give this a go yourself, here is my ten-step how-to based on my experience:

10 Steps to a Successful Work Vacation

  1. Be clear on the WORK that you want to get done. Notice I did not call this a retreat. This was not a time to plan, get creative or gain clarity. It was to go with a to-do list and knock some stuff out!
  2. Book a room, a cabin, stay at a friend’s empty home while they are on vacation…whatever. Just be sure you are alone to avoid distraction. (Luxury happens to be my jam, so a resort was my first choice. Truthfully, any inexpensive hotel room with a door to lock out the world would have been just fine, too.)
  3. Write down your priorities before you get there and stick to them.
  4. Set up your workspace completely before you dive in so you don’t have to break your focus to find the things you need to keep moving forward.
  5. Know your attention-span threshold and what rewards would truly make you feel like you took a break.
  6. Set a timer and DO NOT STOP WORKING until your timer goes off.
  7. When the timer goes off, go a little further if you are so inspired, but be sure to take a break before going after your next chunk of time.
  8. Bring your favorite food or order in so you can remain in your room and keep going!
  9. Before you leave your work vacation, recap what you accomplished and decide what still needs to be done. You get bonus points if you allocate the work to your future weeks’ to-do lists.
  10. Beam with pride that you got a TON done and get ready to reach all of your goals!

What do you think a work vacation would do for you? Hit reply and let me know if it’s something that might be in your future!

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