Thanksgiving is coming. You'll finally be on vacation. The leftovers from the family feast will be stored in the refrigerator and all your Black Friday presents will be opened, installed, and played with. So what next? I'm betting half of you will check your work email just to see if there are any fires to put out. But hold on; don't give in to the urge right away.
The challenge to keep work from interrupting your well-deserved vacation is difficult. According to the Randstad US Employee Engagement Study released just this August 2015, 46% of US employees worry about work while on vacation, and 49% are stressed upon their return. Yikes!
You can avoid that extra stress by following these 6 very easy steps to truly enjoy your vacation and recharge:
1. Close Your Open Loops
The only real way to enjoy your vacation guilt-free is to tie up loose ends before you get to your holiday destination. This involves informing your team about your travel schedule and ensuring there is a point person who can be contacted while you're away. Traditionally, vacationeers set up out-of-office messages for email and phone so everyone knows you're away. While some entrepreneurs consider this kind of disconnecting losing out on opportunities for future business, going offline is really the only way to vacation stress-free. Just ensure all tasks with deadlines that fall within your time off are delegated to someone else, or else postponed for your return.
2. Do Last Minute Work at the Airport
In case you need some last minute work done before you begin relaxing, then make use of your airport time and the downtime you have on the flight. Just make sure you pack all the needed gear.
3. Put the Work Apps Away
In general, your vacation will be more enjoyable if you can close down your work apps and resist checking your work email. Also, turn off your notifications! We won't suggest you lock your phone away in the hotel safe or in the hallway closet — because we know you can't do it (and neither can we).
4. No Devices at Mealtime
Designate all mealtimes as periods where devices are put away and face-to-face conversation can be had. That's how our grandparents used to do it!
5. Jot Down Ideas, Old School
If an idea comes to you related to work, don't open your computer and get sucked into doing work. Instead, jot down notes using a pen and a small (analog) notebook. Then put them away for later reference.
6. Set a Timer If Needed
If work is truly inescapable during your vacation, then set a Pomodoro timer for yourself and stick to a strict 25 minutes of work per day. A lot can be done in 25 minutes if you know that's your only window. If you need more than that, then prepare for some backlash from family and/or friends.
How Do You Recharge?Just remember that vacation is your chance to get away from the stress of work and the politics of the workplace. If you invite the stress back in by engaging in work-related tasks, you're wasting a perfect opportunity to recharge the spirit and return to work ready to face all its various challenges.
Have a tip for maximizing your vacation? Share it in the comments.