By Jim Wong, CPA | July 5, 2017

“A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.” – Robert Orben

Summertime is upon us. Barbecues, picnics and vacations are abundant. At this time of year, many people prefer to be outside enjoying the warm weather rather than be cooped up inside an office.

However for certain professionals, especially those who consider themselves workaholics, vacations can actually end up being more anxiety-ridden than the relaxing and enjoyable time they should be.

Why is that?

For starters, we live in such a digitally-connected world that you’re really only as far away from work as your phone is to your hand. Most people can’t help but check email, check social media and check the latest news since it’s all accessible at the tip of their fingers—all day long.

That’s why it’s important to make a conscious effort to completely unplug and allow yourself to truly take time away from work. Taking an uninterrupted vacation can end up benefitting your productivity at work, your mental and physical health, and your overall work-life balance.

I recently came across an article on that discusses this topic rather well. I thought I’d share a few of their tips along with a few of my own in the 6 Ways to Have a Work-Free Vacation below.

1. Make a checklist.
Before you head out of the office for your vacation on the beach, it’s important to make a list of everything that you’re currently engaged on including any projects, reports, and everyday tasks so that you can delegate the important items to someone else on your team during your time away. This will assure you that your work will still get done when you’re out, and you’ll have less to get caught up on when you return.

2. Finish your priority list.
For the projects that cannot be delegated to someone else or ones that you’d rather complete yourself, put in some extra hours before your vacation to ensure that they get done. This will allow you to feel no pressure, or at least less pressure, about leaving the office.

3. Automate wherever possible.
Any aspect of your role that can be automated for a short amount of time you should consider doing. Whether that means using a template for any repeated report or task, or creating automated filters on your emails so that you can review them easier upon your return. Overall, using technology whenever possible will make your work run more smoothly while you’re gone.

4. Set up out of office.
One way to alert individuals who are sending you emails—whether they’re from inside the company or outside the company—is to turn on your “out of office” feature for your email. This way, for any emails that you receive, the sender will get an automatic response letting them know that you are unavailable. It’s best to put the date frame that you will be out and any contact information for the person to call in your place, if necessary. This type of communication is quick, easy to do and can help keep people informed of your absence.

5. Let your team members know you’re leaving. 
You don’t have to wait for a person to receive your out of office to let them know you’ll be on vacation though. While some people like to keep it quiet when they’ll be out, it really is beneficial for everyone to be as transparent as possible. The more they know, the more they’ll be able to manage things while you’re gone. The last thing you’d want is for a team member to need something from you and not know that you’ll be gone for two weeks. Telling them about your vacation is considerate and the right thing to do.

6. Block out your calendar for your first day back.
No matter how much you delegate while you’re gone and how much you get done before you leave, when you return to the office there will surely be some catch up needed. It’s smart to block out your calendar for either the whole day or at least a big portion of the day you return just to sort through all of the items you missed while on vacation. This will help you get organized, get updated on what happened while you were away and get you prepared for the next task or project to tackle.

What are some other ways to have a work-free vacation? Comment below and let us know!

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