One of the more stressful things about our recent USPS launch was that I had a vacation looming three weeks after launch. Typically after a major launch like this I would be closely involved in the day-to-day for a few months. This launch impacted major things like our checkout process and order processing at the warehouse.
Since problems were likely to arise, I had to make sure that every possible scenario was documented and that someone was trained to handle it. That would normally happen, just not this quickly, and not in the middle of the launch. I had to account for situations like re-configuring a shipping computer in the event that ours died. I even built a “kill switch” in to the website to disable all of USPS if need be.
I went so far because the sole goal of this vacation was to relax. No work, no email, no internet (except for vacationy things like Google Maps & Open Table). This was probably my first true vacation as an adult. I’ve taken plenty of trips, but those typically ended up with me being more worn out than when I left.
And I sure needed it. I don’t toss the phrase “burn out” around lightly, but I was getting pretty close to being burnt out. Constantly pushing to meet aggressive due dates with little reprieve can do that to someone. Since the timing of this USPS project wasn’t planned, I didn’t get to unwind over the holidays as I had initially been looking forward to. The vacation really had to go well, which ironically put even more pressure on me to prep everyone and fix bugs before I left.
Thankfully it did go well. I sat on the beach, forgot about the snow, enjoyed the warm weather, and did absolutely no work whatsoever. When I returned, I was somewhat surprised to find out that nothing major happened, and since one of my partners was managing my inbox when I was gone, I had almost no email to reply to. It was the break I had needed. Now a few weeks later I’m attempting to force a little more balance into my daily routine since I don’t have any urgent projects in the immediate future.