Tired of Working On Vacation? Follow These 4 Tips To Actually Enjoy Your Time Off

EPISODE 33

When you’re going on vacation, it can be a little chaotic trying to plan for the trip, even more so when your work comes with you. Working on vacation kind of negates the idea of it being a vacation.

So how do you ease the stress of deadlines and goals while still being able to unplug and spend time recharging and connecting with your family?

Let’s find out.

In today’s article, I go beyond the obvious answers of delegating what you can and removing as much work from your plate before the trip as possible.

Those things are important, but I want to go a few levels deeper.

Of course, some of these strategies for doing less work on vacation may still seem straightforward, but we will take them a step further.

So, let’s look at 4 must-do tips for anyone who wants to avoid working on vacation or, at the very least, to minimize the chaos of feeling unprepared for your time off.

TIP #1: MAP OUT WHAT YOU NEED TO DO BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER YOUR VACATION

We often finish what needs to be done before heading out on vacation, but then a looming deadline comes up, and your final days of relaxation turn into hustling to get things done in time.

You don’t want that.

You really need to map out and understand what kinds of deadlines, milestones, and important projects need to be completed before, during, and after your vacation.

For example, I used to only think about what deadlines I needed to complete the week of my vacation.

I’d get that done, but suddenly, a Monday-after-vacation-deadline would creep up on me, and the only way to meet that deadline would be to work when I should have been recharging.

So what can you do to prevent working on vacation?

PLAN AHEAD!

Make a list of the important tasks that need to be completed.

Ideally, you’ll write down your tasks all the way up to the week after your vacation has ended.

Why?

This gives you time to delegate as needed and finish up everything ahead of time. That way, you won’t have to rush to get anything done when you get back.

TIP #2: MAKE A PLAN TO SIT DOWN AND PLAN WAAAY AHEAD OF TIME

I know this sounds odd, but if you don’t set aside time to plan out your important tasks and how you’re going to handle them, you might not make time for it.

And then it’s the day before your trip, and you have one million things to do and not enough time to figure them out.

You want to give yourself more than two days before your vacation to map out your important tasks.

You need to have a plan for how you will come up with a plan.

Let’s look at the worst-case and best-case scenarios for not setting aside time to plan well ahead of time.

The best-case scenario for not planning how to disconnect from work on vacation:

You say, “screw it,” and leave for vacation without figuring things out and deal with everything when you get back.

The result?

You’re stressed immediately after your vacation because you’re swamped with immediate deadlines and potentially dropped balls.

The worst-case scenario:

You bring all those important tasks and obligations with you on vacation, so you end up working a lot of the time instead of spending quality time with your family or recharging.

If you don’t want to spend your time working on vacation, plan well ahead of time, and create a time in your schedule to actually sit down and plan all of this out.

TIP #3: GIVE PEOPLE AS MUCH NOTICE AS POSSIBLE ABOUT YOUR VACATION

Personally, I hate it when I need somebody at work to do something for me, send them an email, and receive an auto-reply saying they’re out of the office.

Why?

Because I’m left with the need to decide what to do.

Do I bother them on vacation or find a workaround? What if it’s a time-sensitive issue that requires their approval?

I don’t necessarily want to be bothered while on vacation, and I don’t want to bother other people when they’re on vacation.

To avoid disturbing someone or being disturbed on vacation:

  • Give people as much notice as possible for when you’ll be gone.
  • Don’t set up an auto-reply as your only method of informing people. Letting people know you’re gone when you’re already gone is too late.
  • Add a notice in your email signature a month ahead of time.
  • Nudge people to complete projects due during your vacation window so they’re less likely to bother you.

Try to make it as easy as possible for people to know what dates you’ll be out of the office.

One of my colleagues would set his statuses in Slack, Messenger, and Teams to say, “I’ll be gone between x and y dates,” which was an ingenious way of preparing everyone for his availability.

TIP #4: FREE UP AS MUCH TIME AS POSSIBLE THE WEEK LEADING UP TO YOUR VACATION

Look at it this way.

You’re trying to figure out how to disconnect from work on vacation, and that means doing MORE work before said vacation begins.

But how do you add more time into a day to complete extra work?

By eliminating as much unnecessary “stuff” as possible.

Does your kid need a new backpack before the school year? Can it wait until after your vacation?

If so, wait.

Did your friend ask you to get together with them the week before you leave?

As much as you care about them, postpone it. If they’re a good friend, they’ll understand.

Do you have a non-life-threatening doctor’s appointment?

Reschedule it until after you get back from vacation.

If you don’t plan for this extra workload the week or two before you leave, it will sneak up on you.

Instead of filling the week or two before with non-essential tasks, focus on preparing for your vacation and wrapping up work.

You can plan and lay out the clothing you need. Buy sunscreen or scuba equipment.

You might ask yourself, “How do I know what’s coming up and how to prepare for it?”

This is where your life map comes in handy, giving you a clear picture of your entire life — not just work, business, or family.

Once you know what needs to go so that you aren’t working on vacation, you might wonder how to say no to these “non-essentials” without feeling guilty.

This is where your personal strengths and core values come in.

It’s ok to tell your friends, “Hey, I have a trip coming up that I’m trying to get ready for. I don’t have enough time to get everything done, and it’s really important that I don’t have to work while on vacation. Can we get together a month from now?”

Sometimes Things Have To Take Priority Over Others

When you’re planning a vacation, you need to take a full assessment of the following:

  • the exact details of the trip
  • what kind of work and life obligations need to be taken care of before, during, and after the trip
  • a holistic picture of your life
  • which things need to take priority over other things

And then, you need to tap into your internal strength and confidence to say no to what prevents you from following your plan.

This is exactly what I teach inside the Life Design Academy. Because it’s one thing to know this in theory and another to actually do it.


Do you have a question, a topic, or a challenge that you would like me to address in future episodes of The Spark Your Life Podcast? It’s easy – simply DM me on Instagram, or submit this 1-question form! I cannot wait to support you on your journey!

Olena xx

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