Working Vacation Trap

7 Easy Ways To Avoid the Working Vacation Trap

By Jen Dennis

Ever come back from vacation feeling like you never left — because you kind of didn’t? You answered every work email, held meetings from your hotel room, and used more WiFi data than sunscreen. Before you knew it, you were headed home with a tan and in dire need of a nap.

Enough! If you want to put the “away” in your getaway, here’s how to make it happen.


1. Declare your disconnection

Do like Oprah said and announce your intentions. This is especially important if you’re usually the first to respond to a text or email. Telling others that you plan to unplug makes you accountable to yourself and everyone else: You mean business about vacation.

2. Cover yourself at work

Delegate your work tasks to colleagues, and promise to bring them a souvenir for covering for you (everyone loves refrigerator magnets). And don’t forget to set your out-of-office notification–super-important, yet often overlooked.

3. Create a communication protocol

Wondering if a disaster is unfolding back home is as distracting as checking email constantly. Ask friends and family to call you in case of emergency, instead of sending texts or emails. Being forced to talk on the phone may encourage them to problem-solve without you.

4. Set vacay goals

A few ideas: Number of sunsets you want to see; songs you want to karaoke; local dishes you want to taste. Checking challenges off a bucket list feels fulfilling.

5. Put a timer on work thoughts

If you have trouble turning your brain off from work, set strict limits about when, where, and how long you’ll brainstorm ideas or eyeball emails (without responding). Use your phone timer. When it rings, you’re done.

6. Disable work apps

Turn off the notification for work apps. Take it a step further and move them off the home screen on your phone. It’s so freeing (we know).

7. Use draft mode

It’s the perfect procrastination tool. Type your text or email, save it in drafts, and send it when you’re officially back from vacation. Planning to have fun might seem counter-intutive, but it works, if you know how to work it.

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