Five Tips to Disengage on Vacation and Feel More Refreshed than Ever!

Published on August 4, 2011 by Anne Raymond

Our lives these days are busier than ever.    It’s hard to even go on vacation let along leave everything behind – our work, our stresses, and our ever-increasing list of things-to-do.  But in fact, to be our most productive with our highest level of creativity, it is necessary to be able to disengage from work and recoup and recover mentally, physically, and emotionally.

A huge majority of the population spend vacation time answering emails, taking calls and participating in meetings while TAKING vacation.  (It’s hard to turn OFF when you’re on 24/7!)   You may achieve some shorter term gains back at the office while still being connected.  But in the long run, it might not be providing a sustainable ability to focus, get things done, AND prodRecharge Your Batteries!uce the best results (and we haven’t even mentioned the fun-factor here!).

The whole point of disengaging is to change your focus and charge your batteries.  Many people need to rest; others need a change of scenery so plan your disengagement around people, places, and activities that re-charge your energy!!  You could curl up with a good book or travel to a far-away-land!

Here are my top 5 ways of preparing yourself for “A Vacation of Disengagement”:

1.    Mindset.

Set yourself up so that everyone knows that you not “contactable” (i.e. like a remote desert island with no phones or computers).  For some, this is easier to say than you’re not available (which you’re NOT, but it’s harder for some when you’re usually available 24/7).  And then, pre-vacation planning commit to being NOT available while you’re away (i.e. stop checking email!).

2.    Clear Off Your Plate.

Leave time just before vacation and use that pre-vacation energy to clean up as much as possible before you leave.  You’ll be especially glad to come back to a fresh office or home!

3.    Know Your Next Steps.

Leave yourself details on the next steps for major projects while it’s fresh in your mind so you don’t have to re-think where to get started when you return from vacation.  This also helps “dump the brain clutter” so you can leave without thinking about what you have to do when you get back.

4.    Have Backup While You’re Gone

Be clear about who is going to back you up while you’re gone.  Ensure you change your voicemail and use autoreplies for email to let people know that you’re gone and you’ll get back to them when you return (or better yet, for them to contact YOU when you’re back!).

5.    Give Yourself a Transition Day On Your Return

Give yourself a day (or at least a morning) without any big meetings on your return so you can get caught up and get focused on your priorities without getting sucked into the details!

Enjoy your vacation time to get caught up and relax or get active doing things you love.  And if you don't know what these are (or have forgotten), perhaps now is a time to start experimenting to find some new passions.  Do what gives you energy, have fun, and recharge your batteries.  When you get back you will have a different perspective on it all!