You’re lying on the beach. You’re basking in the hot sun while the cool breeze sweeps across your skin as you’re surrounded by the breathtakingly beautiful paradise… And your face is nose deep in your phone checking emails. Sound at all familiar? We’ve all been there. The reality is that it is hard to disconnect from your daily life, especially from work. However, a vacation’s purpose is just for that. We all need a little rest and relaxation so we can perform at our best in our daily lives. Here are a few ideas to help you get away from the earlier scenario and toward having a true vacation disconnected from work.
1. Give ample notice – Let co-workers, business partners, clients and customers know of your vacation well in advance. Informing pertinent personnel of the dates you will be away at least two weeks ahead of time will also help them prepare for your absence. This way, important projects and tasks can be assigned and completed before your departure, or it will be known they will be taken care of when you return. Chances are, they won’t want to intrude on your vacation time so letting them know can help keep those emails from constantly coming in while you are away as well.
2. Take care of your to-do list – About two weeks prior to your vacation, plan your days out so that you can take care of all your outstanding tasks before your departure. Leaving for a trip with a long list of unresolved projects can take focus away from your vacation. The anxiety of having all the unfinished tasks you already have to do plus all the new tasks when you return on your mind will overcome the relaxation you’re supposed to be having. It’s better to leave a clean slate and return after your trip with a new to-do list.
3. Nominate a backup – In case of emergency, request a trusted co-worker to be your backup while you are away. Make sure to ask for their assistance at least two weeks prior to your trip so they have enough time to prepare as well. It is a good idea to give your contact information in case of any extreme cases. However, choose a backup that you trust can handle most situations without your help.
4. Set an away message – This is a good way to let anyone trying to contact while you’re away that you are on vacation and will respond after you return. This way, you won’t be getting multiple emails with the same requests and having people ask where you are. It will give you peace of mind and you won’t feel rushed to get back to them until after your trip.
5. Focus on those you’re traveling with – Give importance to yourself, your spouse, your family, your friends, or whomever else you’re traveling with. Yes, work is important. But we also have to dedicate time and energy on the other wonderful aspects of our lives. There’s no better way to do that than to spend a vacation with loved ones.
6. Remind yourself why you’re on vacation – Vacations are the time to take a break from work, which is truly imperative to our continued work productivity and overall well-being. Taking time to recuperate and regenerate will leave you feeling refreshed and at the top of your game when you return. It’s also very important for the mind and body to decompress and give yourself breaks from your daily stress. Constant tension can take a toll on you over time so make sure to sit back and relax when you have the opportunity to.
7. Literally disconnect – Don’t pack your laptop. Put your phone on airplane mode. Shut off email and notifications on your phone/tablet. These ideas may be provoke anxiety, but there are no better ways to actually disconnect from work than to literally disconnect from it all. You have the rest of the year to work. Why not use the vacation time how it’s supposed to be used and stay away from work?
8. Set boundaries – If you know you will need to check emails, texts, messages, etc. while you are on vacation, give yourself limits and stick to them. A good idea would be to allow a few minutes before bedtime to check in on the day and resolve any pressing issues. It’s understandable that not knowing what’s going on with work for a week or more may cause the stress that you’re trying to avoid while on vacation. In this case, make it a little easier on yourself, but don’t let it start to take over your days. Set a certain amount of time at a certain time of day to check, and that’s it.
Think you could implement any of these ideas for your next vacation? Even if you’re not planning a trip for a while, it may be good to consider them now so you have some tactics to utilize when a trip does come up. Again, it is important to remember that it is beneficial to your overall health to take a true vacation away from work and the stress it can produce. Making sure to take care of yourself is key. By utilizing some, if not all, of the above strategies, you can be well on your way to having the vacation you need and deserve.