7 Ways to Ensure You Take a True Vacation

I’m getting ready to go on vacation for a week. On Saturday, we will leave town for white sand and sun, and I will be leaving my computer at home. This will be the first time I’ve been on vacation since I started the business almost five years ago bound and determined to completely disconnect.

If you know me or have read many of my posts, you know I hate the whole focus on work-life balance. Work is not separate from life, it is all life and we should be doing something we enjoy enough in our working life to not have to “balance” it with all other aspects of who we are and what we do.

However, I’m becoming increasingly aware of the need to disconnect from the real world, which so often is consumed by the technology that allows us to always be connected to work. And it is time for me to totally disconnect. I’m committing to not checking email for a week, not checking or posting on social media (if you see posts on social media from me while I’m gone, don’t fear, they’ve been prescheduled by my marketing guru), and, except for maybe reading a good business book with my toes in the sand, not working on anything related to work while gone.

But being able to totally disconnect does not come without hard work beforehand. And I’m swamped in this reality this week. Here’s what I’m trying to do this week and focus on to be able to uphold the commitment of disconnecting next week that may help you as well:

  1. Be proactive. I’m working to be prepared for what I have going on when I return. For example, I’m facilitating a three-day leadership retreat that starts the Monday after I return. I just finished the materials for this training on Monday. My normal M.O. would be doing this while on vacation. I had to block off time on my calendar a few weeks ago to make sure I had scheduled time this week to get this done.
  2. Delegate. I’ve sent the materials for this training off to someone else to proof and compile as well as other things I know need to be done while I’m gone.  And she will do these things better than I could do them anyway.
  3. Get some things to get excited about. As if sun and sand aren’t enough, and they are, I got some great book recommendations from family and friends and was like a kid in the candy store picking some things out at the bookstore last week.
  4. Prep those around you for your absence. Consider this post a part of this, but in addition, I will be making calls and sending emails this week to the clients I’m working with currently to let them know I will be gone. It takes more than just your out of office email notification to do this effectively. It goes back to being proactive and setting up expectations beforehand.
  5. Leave your device(s). I won’t put my laptop in the car with us when I leave.  My laptop is like an appendage to me (I make decisions about purses solely around whether or not my laptop will fit in it). This will help with the temptation to check email, because I have not gotten in the habit of checking my email on my phone. I will take my phone with me, but I will use it only to take pictures of my kids playing in the sand and sun.
  6. And to that point….realize why disconnecting is important. Although I try to maintain a strong presence and awareness with my husband and my kids, I know often my work and constant connectedness is a deterrent from being fully present with them.  I will be fully present on vacation, and my hope is that this will help me create positive habits to be more fully present at all times.
  7. And finally, realize you aren’t that important. I can go off the grid for a week and the world will keep spinning. In fact, some things might spin a little better because I am off the grid.

So if you need me this week, call Taylor. She’s great and can help you with whatever you need.

What advice do you have for setting yourself up for a successful and true vacation?

Like this?  You may also like:

HR Happy Hour:  4 Ways to Take a Successful Retreat

Mary Ila Ward

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