Summer is here, and if you’re like most Americans, you’re likely planning a little time off work. But in a world where the office follows us home, it can be almost impossible to fully disconnect from work. Believe it or not, though, it is possible! Taking a real break from work will give you a more enjoyable vacation that will help you feel refreshed and invigorated.
Here are 10 ways to detach from work during vacation.
Finish up as much work as you can before you leave
The best way to ensure no one bothers you while you’re away is to make sure you’ve finished up all outstanding projects before you leave. Tie up all loose ends and don’t leave anything hanging while you’re gone.
Set your work email to auto-reply
Set up an out-of-office message to let people know you’re not at work now.
- Be sure to include your vacation dates in the email
- Provide an alternative contact people can reach out to for urgent matters.
Establish a plan for work emergencies
To avoid getting dozens of phone calls from the office while on vacation, establish a clear plan for emergencies in which you can be contacted. If your email will be on auto answer, you may want to give your personal phone number to your immediate manager to use only in case of a real emergency. Be sure to ask that you not be contacted unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Turn off all notifications on your phone
Take advantage of your phone’s Do Not Disturb feature while you’re on vacation. This way, no one will be able to call you, message you or email you while you’re away. While you likely can’t do this for your entire vacation, you can reserve this for quality times while on your getaway, like an afternoon at the beach, a morning at the spa or an evening out at a restaurant with your partner.
Use a different email address for vacation needs
Don’t use your work email address for anything related to your vacation, such as boarding passes, hotel reservations and car rental information. Instead, provide the contacts sending these documents with another email address. This way, you won’t get pulled into your work emails when you need to access these documents during your vacation.
Leave your laptop at home
Yes, you can leave home without your pet laptop. If you’ve made sure to finish all open projects before you leave and you’ve set a clear protocol for emergency contact while you’re away, there’s no reason to assume you’ll need it during your vacation.
Use the inside-outside rule
If you cannot disconnect completely for the duration of your vacation, try this rule instead:
- Only open work emails when you are inside your hotel or rental.
When you step outside, anything related to work is out. This simple, but powerful, rule can give you the break you need from work without cutting off completely for the entire trip.
Avoid talking about work
When interacting with friends, family or travel companions while on vacation, make a conscious effort to avoid discussing work topics. Redirect conversations to other subjects of interest and immerse yourself in non-work-related discussions.
Trust your team
If you’re leaving work for a few days or more, you need to have confidence in the team back at the office. You have to believe they can hold it down without you. Once you’ve prepared them for your leave, and provided any instructions they may need, just let go.
Plan your return
Be prepared for a pile of work to be waiting on your desk when you return. Block out your first day back so it’s free of meetings to allow the slow ease back into your work schedule while tackling all urgent matters first. Breathe deeply, and try to bring the energy of your vacation into the office with you so it keeps you going for a long, long time.
Take a real break this summer and disconnect from work while on vacation.
Are you that worker who doesn’t know how to take a break? Show us how you “vacation” in a short video.