Do you try to schedule too much to do in the time that you take off from work? Do you take some down time? I was visiting my brother in Oregon this past week. We did not feel that we had to schedule every minute of every day with activities. If we wanted to spend more time at the beach, we could. There was not a rush to do more. Have you had a vaction that you could give someone a long list of things that you saw or visited, but could not honestly say that you took your time at any of them?
These are the same people that schedule too many things during their normal work day. They are over achievers. They always want to do more than the next person. It tends to carry over into their personal lives. They also do not want to miss an e-mail from the office and cannot ignore work. I realize that you cannot always avoid work. Some people take the approach that everyone else should be as dedicated to the job as they are. Are you one of these people?
Let's think this through. When you have members of your staff that take time off from work, do you e-mail or call them for things that pop up? Is it convenient to ask them for the answer to your questions? I have worked with managers that would cancel vacations with no notice because they could not do without their employee for a week. I have also worked with those that would never think about cancelling vacations or calling someone while they were on vacation.
Think back about the days before e-mail and cell phones. Were your vacations less stressful? I would guess that in most cases they were. We live in a society where it is too easy to communicate with one another. We, therefore, do not take the time to solve our problems, that arise at work , without e-mailing or calling someone on vacation.
I believe that most things that come up at work, while you are out, can be handled by someone else if you really think about it. Will it be as quick or easy to solve? I doubt it, but that is ok. I challenge you to make the following commitments. I will never cancel any of my team's vacations after they are scheduled. I will not call or send e-mails to my team members that are on vacation that require a response. I will solve any problems that arise while they are out, regardless of whether or not it is the ideal solution out of respect to their time off from work.
I have done this with my team and have had a lot of success. Your team get's a chance to have stress relief from the vacation and come back refreshed and ready to work again. They appreciate the respect that you give them. It is a simple way to show them how much you care about them.
In regards to your own vacation, respect those that are spending the time with you. Ignore the cell phone and e-mails as much as you can, based on the expectations of your supervisor. There is nothing going on that is that important that it cannot wait for a while to be handled. I try to limit my handling of work related items to one time a day. The rest of the time you should be giving your family, friends or yourself all of your attention. Take the time to really have a relaxing vacation and give your team the same opportunity.