I’ve learned that the sureshot way to prevent myself from being disturbed during vacation is to inform clients/collaborators much in advance. And remind them at every chance I get.
Here’s what I do. I put it in my email signature. Like this:
From the moment I plan my vacation days, which is at least 30 days ahead, this message goes up. It is there in every single email I send. So, clients get a full 30-day period to plan their work with me before I go on vacation.
A few reasons why I think this works well for me:
I have sneakily told them it’s as much their responsibility to ensure work is not delayed. 🙂
I have avoided the awkwardness/guilt of bringing up leave with clients. I’ve just made it casual.
When they see an out-of-office message from me, they don’t feel shocked.
So, now, every conversation about deadlines starts with the client asking me a simple question: Can you finish this before you go on your break? I say no, if I can’t. They’re already prepared to wait for January.
If you’re taking a break this year end, start telling clients (without actually telling them) now!