When’s the last time you took a truly unplugged vacation — the kind where you took your out-of-office message seriously and actually came back rejuvenated? If you can’t remember, you’re not alone. The research is clear on vacations: they offer incredible benefits like reducing stress, increasing productivity, preventing burnout and even improving your sleep. So isn’t it time you learned how to really unplug and enjoy your summer vacation?
Get ready to shelve that ‘to-do’ list and focus on what you really want to do when you’re out of the office. These vacation tips will help you switch off work mode and make the most of your time off!
Set expectations early
A little planning ahead can go a long way in enjoying an unplugged vacation. A few weeks before a long trip, make key colleagues, clients, vendors and contacts aware of your plans. Be intentional and direct, asking what they need from you before your departure. This simple question can drastically cut down on vacation interruptions.
A few weeks before a long trip, make key colleagues, clients, vendors and contacts aware of your plans.
Schedule as few meetings as possible in the days leading up to your vacation. Block off focused time to complete any last-minute projects that come your way, work through email and send final updates before your trip and handle any phone calls you need to make. Keep the last few hours before your departure wide open — so if a last-minute emergency pops up, you won’t have to bring work with you on vacation.
Perfect your OOO message
With the right out of office message, you won’t have to worry about what happens while you’re away. An effective OOO message communicates two key details: the days you’ll be away and who can help in your absence.
Take your OOO message to the next level by answering common questions and directing emailers to the fastest resolution to their issue. Additionally, consider giving yourself a buffer and pushing back your return date in the message so you aren’t overwhelmed trying to catch up. Your flight may land on Sunday night, but that doesn’t mean you need to be at Inbox Zero by Monday morning. You’ll return from your vacation relaxed, knowing you have an extra day to tackle important emails that arrived while you were away.
Your flight may land on Sunday night, but that doesn’t mean you need to be at Inbox Zero by Monday morning.
Set check-in times
Okay, so maybe you can’t go an entire week without looking at your email. Sometimes that’s just how it is. But you can instill new vacation routines to make sure emails don’t take over your whole day. A few healthy boundaries can make a world of difference.
But you can instill new vacation routines to make sure emails don’t take over your whole day.
Consider scheduling intentional, focused check-in times to log into email, listen to voicemails and return calls. For example, spend 30 minutes every morning on work and then log out for the rest of the day. Instead of haphazardly checking for new emails every hour, you’ll make the most of your brief check-in times and get back to your time away.
Create a vacation email address
What if you want to get away from it all, but still need a way to stay connected? Create a special, limited-use vacation email address. Knowing just those essential people can get through to you will give you peace of mind, while also allowing you to unplug from the vast majority of messages.
Give your vacay email to your boss, babysitter, trusted colleague or whoever may need to contact you only in case of something truly urgent. Also, you can use this email for flight confirmations, trip itineraries and any other vacation-specific details. Bye-bye work email, hello vacation!
Resist social media
One key aspect of unplugging is shifting away from 24/7 social media. We tell ourselves we’re just going to post that one beach picture to Instagram and then log off . . . but, 15 minutes later, we’re stuck in the scrolling spiral and no longer living in the moment and enjoying vacation. We’ve all been there, and social media can be a real obstacle to real rest.
Posting those pics can wait.
Consider downloading an app that will block or limit social media for you. Posting those pics can wait. Apps like Flipd will nudge you to stay present and help you lock away Snapchat or Facebook when you can’t seem to help yourself.
Forget the FOMO
Too many times we spend the entire vacation in work FOMO — that’s fear of missing out. What happened with that client? What about that deadline? What if it all comes crashing down? It’s time to flip that mindset, forget the work FOMO, and embrace JOMO — that’s the JOY of missing out!
In our WiFi-everywhere, digital-first world, making a clean break is absolutely necessary and beneficial.
The meaningful mindset shift to the joy of missing out can totally transform your summer vacation. In our WiFi-everywhere, digital-first world, making a clean break is absolutely necessary and beneficial. Once you let that sense of panic slip away, you’ll realize that being offline may be the best thing. The studies show we need to be taking vacations. Jump on the bandwagon and really celebrate your time off. There really is joy in the journey!
At Central Exchange, we’re all about empowering you to reach your full potential in every aspect of life, both in and out of the office. Discover what it’s like to have a collective of women cheering you on. You’re invited to be our guest today!