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Do You Have a Hard Time Turning Off When You’re On Vacation?

Learn how to put structures in place so you can have a real physical and mental vacation this year!

With the summer approaching for the majority of people, there is probably a vacation in your near future (For all those Southern Hemisphere folks – our time will come!). For many, going on vacation is no problem… they can close their computer Friday afternoon head out the door and not look back. Others spend their vacation staring out at the calm of the water, stressing about the email they are not sure they sent or anxious about what they will have to deal with when they return to the office, never truly taking a break. Take a real break this year by putting the structures in place so you can have a much needed physical and mental vacation.   

Take a real break this year by putting the structures in place so you can have a much needed physical and mental vacation.

What keeps the mind spinning at night and while on vacation is typically uncertainty. Why is it that most movies or TV shows end with a cliffhanger…so that all week (thanks to Netflix all 10 seconds) our mind is wondering what will happen next? At night and on vacation, our mind spins trying to answer “What if” questions that we may or may not be able to answer, often because they are hypothetical and because we don’t have the information. 

The most powerful tool we have to address “Uncertainty “and “What if’s” is preparedness and planning. 

 The most powerful tool we have to address “Uncertainty “and “What if’s” is preparedness and planning. We know nothing is certain, but being prepared and having plans in place lets our mind rest knowing there are structures to handle various scenarios.

We invest time to make sure we are prepared for work, but imagine if we also took time to make sure we were prepared for vacation as well!  

We invest time to make sure we are prepared for work, but imagine if we also took time to make sure we were prepared for vacation as well. This year, leave the office knowing the structures are in place for you to confidently disconnect and take care of yourself.

Here are some simple structures to put in place to help you prepare for vacation:

1. Pre-Vacation Reminder:Two weeks prior to vacation, email your team and clients to let them know the dates of your upcoming vacation. Let them know you will be available before and after to address their requests. If you think it will be helpful, send another reminder the week prior.

2. Confirm Your Vacation Back-Up Person:If someone will be covering your role while you are away, schedule time to review your tasks and provide them with the needed information to address common challenges.

3. Pre-Vacation Work Blocks. Block out time in your schedule the week prior to vacation to finish up pending tasks and set up your out of office message. If you cannot finish a task, and it is possible, recommit to delivering the task after you are back. Plan how and when you will finish things so your mind already has a plan in place.

4. Schedule Transition Time: Before leaving on vacation, block out transition time for the week you are back. You already know you will need time to catch up on emails and other tasks, so structure that into your schedule before you leave. If possible, avoid scheduling any meetings or deliverables for the first two days you are back so you have time to catch up.

5. Last Call:Oftentimes, people are not as present and excited for our vacation as we are! The day before you leave, reach out to your boss, team, and clients reminding them you leave on vacation tomorrow, and ask if there are any quick things they need to let you know. Also, remind them of who to reach out to if they need anything while you’re gone.

6. Vacation Transition: On your flight, drive, or at home on the couch, set aside a few minutes in the beginning of your vacation to remind yourself that everything is taken care of, the structures are in place, and it is time to take a break!

7. Turn off your phone and disconnect email reminder!

Remember: 

If we can’t effectively recharge, we can’t be effective at work anyway!

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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