The beautiful, warm weather is quickly approaching, and you’ve already booked your ticket to a tropical, sunny beach, a large city with the hustle and bustle, or a location filled with historical landmarks. It’s time for you to refuel, and get some much-needed rest and relaxation. There’s only one problem; you still find yourself scrolling through work emails to ensure you don’t miss a beat.
When you’re used to continually keeping up to date with work, you develop a habit that can be not only time-consuming but detrimental to keeping a healthy balance between work and life. When you go on vacation, it’s essential that you put forth the effort to break your work habits and keep yourself disconnected from business so you can focus on getting the rest you need. If you don’t unplug yourself from work, you could end up feeling tired and unmotivated while on your trip, and you won’t return to your job with a bright, and refreshed disposition.
You can use these five tips to help you disconnect from your job so you can enjoy the total benefits of your well-deserved, and most likely costly, vacation.
Always Be Prepared
Procrastination can be an absolute killer when it comes to taking a vacation away from your job. You know that you’re leaving, and while you’ve undoubtedly booked your trip around the most important events of your work year, you likely have unfinished tasks that need to get completed before you leave. If you leave them to the last minute or don’t finish them at all, it’s possible that you’re going to spend time thinking about them on your trip.
It’s equally important to set up an out-of-office reply for your email, so those that try to reach you get notified that you’re out of town. You don’t need to go into too much detail, but providing the date of your return, and a backup contact for emergency situations is typically a solid idea. Ensure that your colleagues and clients know who they can talk to and that they know who is in charge.
Shut Off Notifications
Regardless of if you’re on vacation or not, you probably have your cell phone at your side. You use it to take pictures, use Google, pull up maps, make phone calls, and listen to music. While you’re on your trip, you might get tempted to check in with work if you receive a notification of an email. The best way to avoid this is to shut off any work-related notifications that could pull you away from what’s happening around you. With iPhones, you can even choose to filter your email.
The Phone Bet
Picture this. You’re traveling with your best friends, you’re out to dinner, and everyone is having a fantastic time, and conversation is flowing. Suddenly, there’s a lull. You notice that someone at the table takes the opportunity to look at their cell phone, and voila! Everyone else has their phone within seconds. What do you do?
Creating a game or a bet with your friends is a great way to ensure you aren’t tempted to check your devices when someone else does. Have your friends and loved ones put their phones in a stack on the table, and challenge them. Whoever reaches for their cell first needs to pay for another round of drinks, or even pay for the dinner tab.
Keep a Journal
Social media is everywhere nowadays, and it’s going to be another main reason why you’re going to want to stay connected during your vacation. It might seem like your trip isn’t happening if you aren’t able to log in and post snaps and fun updates to all of your platforms. You might not even realize it, but you could be spending a lot of your vacation time just updating your Facebook status and posting photos to Instagram and Snapchat, even though you can post them all when you return home.
Once you’re online doing one thing, you’re going to want to check in with your work to make sure that things are going okay, and that defeats the purpose of taking time away. Keeping a travel journal allows you to document and remember every blissful moment of your vacation without needing to log on. You can also tape your airline tickets, photos, and other memorabilia to the pages of your journal to make it an extra unique keepsake. All you need to do is buy the supplies that you need and bring them in your carry-on luggage, so you journal every minute of your trip from the beginning to the end. The best part? You don’t need an internet connection to make the memory last.
Check in On a Schedule
Depending on the type of work that you do, there might be times where checking in with your job is entirely unavoidable. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to waste your precious trip time spending it logged into work email; you just need to create boundaries for yourself and stick to them. You can do this by building a check-in schedule for yourself that lets you keep up with communications that can’t get missed, though you aren’t diving heavily into your work.
Creating a schedule is quite simple. The easiest way to do it is to allow yourself 15 minutes in the morning to check in while you’re eating breakfast and have some time to spare. You can then assign another 15 minutes before bed to see if there’s anything else that needs your attention before you sleep. You aren’t working, you’ve scheduled the time off, so two 15 minute intervals should be more than enough time to catch up with emails. If you find that you have more urgent matters that you need to attend to, then you can also allow yourself another 15-minute window during the middle of the day. Just keep in mind that the lest time you stay connected to work, the better.
Everyone deserves to take a trip once in a while, and your vacation should be your break from your daily grind and stress that comes with your profession. You’ve earned the break by working as hard as you do, and it’s only fair that you get to enjoy the time with your friends and family without having to stay plugged in. Disconnect during your next trip and any others that follow; your job is still going to be there once you return.