Sorry for the silence here at My Shingle – I’ve been on a long awaited vacation this week (and here’s the proof!). I know that many bloggers often leave a stock of blog posts to auto-post while they’re away, but I prefer real time postings (anything else is too much like a newspaper article to me). So how does a solo take a guilt free vacation (with 48 hours away from cell phone, Blackberry and Internet access, no less?). Here are a couple of suggestions:
(1) Get as much done as you can before you leave. Even if you have a deadline a couple of days after your vacation, try to finish the matter before you head out so that you don’t worry about the deadline while you’re away.
(2) Send out your invoices. When you’re a solo, vacation equates to unpaid leave. But when you send out a bunch of invoices before you leave, your checks should arrive soon after you return – so you don’t feel guilty for having taken the time off (not that you should anyway!)
(3) Put a vacation message on your cell phone. A message that you’re out of the office alerts callers to the possibility that they shouldn’t expect a return call within 24 hours. And you can relax, and set aside a morning or two to return calls in bulk (or respond by email) instead of racing to find a private place to return a call after you receive it. A vacation message also helps in a situation like mine, where I was unexpectedly without phone or internet access for two days.
(4) Find a back up. Arrange for a colleague to serve as back up – to go over to the court or make a filing for you if an emergency comes up. Chances are you won’t need the help, but if you do, having a back up in place is preferable to having to race back from your trip.
(5) Give yourself a cushion. According to my voice mail, I’m on vacation through the end of this week. That’s partly true – I have a bunch of housecleaning issues to address as well as some last minute minutia related to my book. I’ll still be doing work this week (among other things, I will need to attend an unexpected hearing and review a contract for an interesting new project that I’ll be handling) – but I don’t feel as if I have to jump in full force.
(6) And finally – do take a real vacation away. I have not had a real vacation in over a year. And I never realized how much I needed one until I took this one. From now on, I will not go more than a few months without at least a four day vacation.

I’ll probably resume blogging here towards the end of this week, but I’ll also be posting over at Legal Blogwatch.