So much of your personal brand relies on maintaining a consistent presence on social media, being available to clients, and staying on top of trends in your field. Combine all that with parenting, and you are probably stretched pretty thin!
For better or worse, tech has made it easier for professionals to spend more time with their kids. We can do school pick-up at 3pm and be on a conference call by 3:30pm.
And now, with summer drawing to a close, you might be squeezing in a quick getaway with your kids before school starts. But “working vacation”, “relocation”, “a change of scenery”—these are the terms that best describe what summer breaks are for parents these days. Kids are wonderful but hardly restful. Throw a laptop into the mix and your time away has never been the same.
You could swear off being wired for your vacation or you could build it into your plans. Here are some 5 tips for maximizing your efficiency while minimizing the amount of time you are away from the beach:
1. Wake up early. I know it’s nice to sleep in on vacation but take advantage of the only time you might get some quiet and solitude to put in a solid 1-2 hours of work.
2. Research for coffee shops with Wifi ahead of time. Identifying a place where you can type and get caffeinated BEFORE you go away will make it more likely that you end up there.
3. Take a vacation from guilt. Feeling guilty about your lack of focused attention on work or the kids is a waste of precious vacation time. Work when you work. Drink a margarita when you drink a margarita.
4. Make a grandparent or sitter part of holiday plans. That way you can commune with your laptop and still serve lunch when everyone gets back from canoeing.
5. Never set up an auto-reply message like, “Hi, I’m at the beach this week so I won’t be looking at email.” Deal with emails as they come but explain you are on vacation so the reply will be brief. You’ll be one of the few people who won’t panic when they get back from a vacation because your Inbox will be empty. No missed Memos or play-date invitations!
I recently logged into a Twitter conversation called #mediachat. The topic was “How to Cope with Technology on Summer Vacation”. Most people agreed that holidays were for turning off the phone, unplugging the computer, automating your tweets, and skipping the blog post for a week. One guy said, “I need to get busy making memories on my vacation.” Maybe. But a family vacation can also be the perfect time to get some work done for a parent with a personal brand.
Manoush Zomorodi’s on-camera expertise comes from years of reporting and producing for BBC News and Reuters Television. For more tips and techniques, check out Manoush’s ebook Camera Ready: How to Prepare Your Best Self & Ideas On Air and Online and follow her on Twitter @manoushz.