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How Can I Minimize Intrusions on my Personal Time?

You can argue against this practice but you can’t avoid it once it becomes policy. You can minimize intrusions on your time by making plans before you leave to ensure that most critical issues either are already handled or will be handled by others trained to do so. Teach them what they need to know, then empower them to take over in your absence. If your company demands you call in regularly, alert your staff when you will call—the day and time. This will eliminate the sudden call from the office and your frantic race to your room from the beach, or the unproductive call to the office spent on "hold" as people look for someone for you to speak with.

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Take your laptop if you must, but put it away and limit your use to important e-mail messages from your office and customers. Spend time with your staff to identify the nature of documents that should be forwarded to you. Staff members can leave voicemail messages on your cell phone to alert you to a document being sent that will require your review.

Most important, don’t let a heavy workload discourage you from taking time away from the office—sufficient time to refresh and reenergize you for the work you are sure to find back in your office when you return.