As crazy as it may sound, many people work during their vacations. You know who you are. You check email and voicemail. You call in every day. You might even bring work along with you.

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As crazy as it may sound, many people work during their vacations. You know who you are. You check email and voicemail. You call in every day. You might even bring work along with you.

No doubt you have good reasons for all of this. But let’s say that this year you’ve decided you’re going to take an honest-to-goodness, old-fashioned vacation. The question is: How do you pull it off?

Get everyone on board early. Well in advance, notify your co-workers, clients and anyone else who might be affected by your absence. People can’t work around your schedule if they don’t know what it is. Two or three weeks before you leave, begin to include a “Vacation Alert” notice in your email signature line.
Find a vacation buddy. If possible, train someone at work who can cover for you while you’re gone. You’ll do the same for that person when the time comes. Make sure everyone knows this is the person to contact if they have questions they’d normally bring to you.

Leave a roadmap. List key contacts, the status of all ongoing projects and the location of any information or supplies your co-workers might need to access. Send out this information a few days before your time off, and then again right before you leave.

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Neatness counts. Leave your work and workspace in a condition that others can easily comprehend. This makes you look good and will make it easier on you when you get back. Take this opportunity to leave a copy of that roadmap in a prominent spot.

Should you check in a few times while you’re away? It’s up to you. But keep in mind that it is in both your and your employer’s best interests that you get some decent, relaxing, rejuvenating time off.

When you return, make it obvious how glad you are to be back and demonstrate how much the vacation has made you even more effective and productive.

Oh, and have a wonderful time!

Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at wg@karenburnsworkinggirl.com.