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April 14, 2022

How to Unplug From Work When You're On Vacation

It's important to take time off from work in order to relax and clear your mind. It's equally important to unplug while you're on vacation in order to maintain healthy relationships with your friends and family, as well as ensure that you'll enjoy your time away from work as much as possible. With these simple tips on how to unplug from work when you're on vacation, you'll be ready to enjoy the full benefits of time away from work.

What does it mean to “unplug” from work?

There are different ways you can unplug from work, both literally and figuratively. Our recommendation is to start (literally) with technology.

While it may be tempting to peek at your computer on vacation, or comb through work emails (even when they aren't urgent), resist those urges! Leave your laptop in a safe place at home before you hit the highways on holiday. Ditching the computer at home will remove your direct line to work responsibilities and clear your attention span for new experiences. Plus – it'll help lighten your suitcase, too.

Although unplugging could be extended to ALL technology, we understand the necessity of bringing your cell phone on vacation for emergencies and convenience. However, you can still unplug from the work and personal social media platforms that you use on a daily basis. Challenge yourself this vacation — no Facebooking, no Tweeting, no Instagramming — and especially no endless scrolling on TikTok! What interesting things can you find around you? If you’re tempted to take a photo, try to save it on your camera or cell phone to post later. There’s no rush to share your daily adventures online!

Why should I do this?

Did you know that 21% of adults felt stressed during their time off, and 28% worked more than they thought they would on vacation (American Psychological Association)? Constantly being on work mode can leave a harmful impact on your creativity and productivity. The additional time you dedicate to work outside of rest hours can lead to prolonged exhaustion and create burnout – and nobody enjoys this experience!

There’s a reason your brain feels so different during and after a vacation. A change in your daily environment stimulates the senses with new smells, feelings, sights, sounds, and tastes. When you unplug from work mentally, your brain can rest from its usual routine and accelerate from sponging up all of the new experiences. But even if your job doesn’t require much mental strain or creativity (like an assembly line), your mind can still benefit from the change in the long run.

What are some examples of what I can do?

What concerns or worries enter your thoughts when you think about disconnecting from work while on vacation?

Many people worry about not being able to disconnect from their colleagues or clients when they go on vacation. Our suggestion is to start with writing out solutions and a plan to address your concerns with your team before you go. This way, you’re leaving your teammates with an action plan to pick up the ongoing tasks that you’re leaving behind.

This may require training employees or colleagues on certain aspects of your job, communicating your vacation plan in advance to colleagues and clients, working ahead on certain projects, and creating temporary processes while you're away.

While this may seem like a lot of work up front, the idea is to create plans that help your team, your clients, and yourself so everyone can succeed.

Do these things before you leave:

1. Write down your list of concerns about what it means to disconnect from work.

2. Create a plan of solutions for each concern.

3. Bring in team members, employees, colleagues, and external resources to help with action steps on executing the plan.

4. Work ahead on projects or requests so that you return from vacation to a milder workload.

5. Create temporary processes and communicate the processes to those who could be impacted by your time away.

6. Set your out-of-office message, turn off email notifications, step back from your desk, and breathe. It will all be ok.

Do these things while you're gone:

Breathe. Sit back in your comfy chair. That's it! Feel your feet connected to the ground. Hear that? It's vacation. This is your time to step away from work and give yourself some space to be present and in the moment. However, if you’re in a position where your team may need to reach out to you with questions, here are some helpful ways to handle incoming notifications while you’re away (if you absolutely positively must answer):

· If you are in a position where you must receive some work emails, set vacation alerts on your email so that even if you don't check it every day, you can still stay aware of urgent issues.

· Put your phone on airplane mode when you're away from work, so it won't distract you with unexpected calls or notifications.

· Set recurring time blocks throughout your trip for digital detox time—after all, relaxing is part of what makes a vacation so valuable! Be sure to stick to these time blocks. Don't make exceptions for things like checking in with family or friends via video chat.

Try something new while you're on vacation: food, activity, location, music, etc. Experience something a little different than what you're used to and open up a new world to yourself.

Do these things when you get back:

Coming back from vacation can be the hard part, but it doesn't have to be.

If possible, schedule an additional day off between traveling home and returning to work. This can be a day when you are home to unpack, catch up on laundry, or just take an extra 24 hours to rest. Jet-lag can be a knock-out, after all.

Make a plan on what is realistic to achieve the first day and first week back from vacation. Perhaps include reading and responding to X number of emails or calls each day, setting up meetings to touch base with your team or clients, or assessing how things went while you were gone and the next steps needed.

While it's crucial to success to take time away for yourself, it's just as important to plan how you will step back into work when you return. After all, you don't want to reverse the good things your vacation brought you by trying to do too much when you come back to work!

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Thinking about going on vacation this summer? We’ll handle your business’s marketing while you’re away. 5Points Creative is a full-service firm specializing in marketing, advertising, digital, communications, and branding. Visit 5PointsCreative.com/services for more information on how we can elevate your business!

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