If you’re reading this, I’m just arriving back in Pittsburgh from a week-long vacation in sunny Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. As I write this, however, I’m three days away from boarding my plane and leaving the chilly temperatures of Pittsburgh and (fingers crossed) my responsibilities behind.
Social media never takes a vacation.
It doesn’t stop during the evenings, weekends, or holidays. I am literally connected to my job 24/7/365. Something we constantly talk about in higher ed is the importance of self-care and work/life balance. I’m a self-proclaimed workaholic and perfectionist, so these concepts don’t naturally fit into my everyday life.
However, as a new professional, the last thing I want to do is burn myself out in the first year when I have about 40 more to go. I don’t want to be someone who is so constantly engaged in work that I’m missing out on life. My emails and notifications will still be there when I get home. But I won’t be able to re-live my vacation experience.
My goal is to spend no more than a few minutes each morning and evening checking my work social media accounts. Being able to disconnect and enjoy my vacation means preparing big time in advance. Here’s what I’m doing now so I can spend my week relaxing on the beach, not glued to my phone.
Calling for backup
I’m very fortunate to work with an amazing team of people who support work-life balance and who don’t want me to spend my time off working. I’ve been able to divide responsibility of our university social media accounts up among my colleagues who were more than willing to step in while I’m away.
Hootsuite is saving my life like never before as I prep for vacation. I’ve scheduled Facebook and Twitter content through my entire trip. So, all my colleagues have to do is monitor and respond to messages as necessary.
Setting everyone up for success
Some platforms don’t support content scheduling. But posts still need to be published and processes need to continue while I’m away. I’ve provided my colleagues with necessary graphics, photos, content text, and steps for managing processes like Snapchat takeovers while I’m gone.
Giving a heads up
I let colleagues in and out of my department know in advance that I’ll be out for a week. My student team knows who to contact in an emergency, and what to work on while I’m away.
Preparing for my return
I don’t want to be worrying about the things I have coming up while I’m on vacation, or feel bombarded on Monday morning when I return. I’ve prepared for my upcoming presentations and meetings in advance so I can ease back into work when I get home.
In a culture that glorifies “busy,” it can feel like we’re all in a competition of who spent the most consecutive hours at their desk or handled the most crises this week. We all work really hard. We deserve to take time off and to actually enjoy it. My ultimate hope is that I will muster the strength to turn my phone off for a few days, something I’ve never done in my life, especially not as a social media manager.
I’ll let you know how I do. In the meantime, I challenge you to take your next vacation or even your weekend and fully disconnect from your job. Be present in the moment. We are all employees, but we are people first. And at the end of the road, no one remembers how many hours they spent on emails and excel sheets.
This post is part of the Emerging SA Pro series following 4 awesome people: Aracelis, Emalie, Felicia, and Patrick, as they blog monthly about 1 year of their journey as either a new SA Pro or SA grad student. We are proud to help them share their stories as they break into our field.