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Top 5 Ways to Disconnect on Vacation

July 24, 2014

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Vacations give us all a much-needed chance to unwind, to enjoy life, and to regain a sense of well-being. Yet today, travelling hundreds—or even thousands—of miles away from work does not guarantee that we’re actually “away” from the office. Sadly, working while on vacation is often the norm these days. Here are five tips guaranteed to help you unplug from work and take a “real” vacation.

  1. Untether beforehand. Whether you’re planning to spend a week overseas or a weekend at the beach, start to disconnect before you leave. If you typically check your smartphone every five minutes, take it off your desk and turn off alerts. Check in, say, once an hour … then once every two hours. And so on. Tech time-outs should soon become easier. 
  2. Tie up loose ends. Before a trip, catch up on emails, social media updates, letters, etc. By getting through as much work as possible before you leave, you’ll have less to stress over while you’re away. And when you return, you’ll likely find that most problems have been already been resolved.
  3. Set tech boundaries. Either leave your devices at home or limit their use—i.e., no email push notifications, no instant messaging, no posting to Twitter and Facebook. Most hotels offer internet access, so you’ll likely be able to go online if you must. Or, a hotel concierge can provide you with information about finding directions, places to dine, and points of interest. 
  4. Put electronics on airplane mode. This setting (it turns off WiFi) will let you take photos with your devices, while staying off the web. As a bonus, you’ll save on data and on roaming charges. Think about it: will staying off email and social media for a few days really ruin the trip you’ve waited so long to enjoy?
  5. Check in judiciously. If you absolutely must, check your work email once a day or so. Remember that when you start thinking about work, it can be hard to disengage…and isn’t that the point of getting away? 

Remind yourself that your vacation is a reward for all your hard work. It’s your time to kick back and renew your energy—so you can return to work relaxed and ready for whatever lies ahead.    


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