6 Tips to Help You Unplug for Your Vacation

With 4th of July being the unspoken week of summer vacations, it’s time to consider- does anyone every really truly go on vacation now days? By a true vacation I mean no work is done. None. No emails, no voicemails, no finishing up a project, starting a project or even thinking (and therefore procrastinating) on a project.

In a world of constant connectedness, I’d venture to guess most people don’t actually unplug completely from their work. According this article, more than half of Americans plan to work while on vacation.

But if you are headed on vacation or on vacation now (wait, does reading this count post as “working”?) here are some tips for unplugging while on there:

  1. Get your stuff done before you leave. Practice productivity before going which will eliminate the need to work while away.
  2. Schedule time when you get back to catch-up. Block your calendar for a day or two after you return with no meetings or scheduled activities to eliminate the pressure of having to get through 987 emails when you return with no time to do it. Post-vacation laundry can be a beast. Don’t forget to schedule time to catch up on the household items that need to be attended to as well after returning from vacation.
  3. Eliminate the temptation to check in with work. Don’t take your computer with you, go where there is no internet connection (is there such a place now?) and if you have a phone dedicated just to work, leave it at home.
  4. Set clear expectations with colleagues/clients before departing.  Tell them how long you’ll be away and establish that you will not be checking in via email, phone or text.  Ask that they respect your vacation time and reciprocate by respecting theirs. Set up automated out of the office responses with a date of when you will be able to get back in touch. Date it at least one day after you return.
  5. Take for pleasure reading with you and schedule for pleasure activities.   Take that novel you’ve been dying to read (or movie you’ve been waiting to watch) or that cooking magazine you’ve been trying to look at for the past three months and haven’t ever gotten to. Book the massage you’ve been wanting.  By taking time for pleasure reading and scheduling for pleasure activities, you’ll eliminate the desire to turn to business reading and/or checking emails.  You simply won’t have the time or desire to do it when you are enjoying something else.
  6. Realize that vacations are more often than not a time connect and build relationships with those closest to you. Most of us don’t take our vacations solo. If you are venturing out on a vacation this week, more than likely family member(s) or close friend(s) will be with you. Vacations are a time to rejuvenate as individuals, but also a time to rejuvenate the relationships that mean the most to us but may have been neglected somewhat by competing work demands.  You’re on vacation, so don’t let work get in the way of relationships (you shouldn’t ever let this happen, but that that’s a topic for another day). Don’t let your spouse or your kids define the time away by the number of hours mom or dad spent checking email.

How are you making space for your vacation?

Mary Ila Ward