By Jim Wong, CPA | July 1, 2015

Work to live, not live to work.

Summer is in full swing and chances are you have at least one vacation planned with family or friends in the next month or two. Why not enjoy your fun-in-the-sun without your smartphones and tech gadgets attached to your hip for once? Chances are your friends and family will thank you for it.

As a CEO, I know how hard it is for me to completely unplug while away from the office, but studies show that taking a breather from business and technology can better your health, reduce stress and even improve your bottom line. So, I’m willing to test it out.

For accounting, finance and IT leaders, or leaders in any profession, it comes as no surprise that many of us want to stay connected to the business while away. The month-end cycle is most likely approaching, a network system may be experiencing a glitch or a major audit may be currently underway, but if you have the proper protocols in place before you leave, you shouldn’t have a problem being worry-free as you jet set the globe.

There was a recent article on that shares several IT leaders’ stories about unplugging on vacation. I believe these pointers can be used by leaders of various professions. Below are some of the tips discussed in the article, along with a few thoughts of my own.

1. Build a trustworthy team.

From the start, you need to select a strong and reliable group of individuals to work for you who are able to take charge when you’re out of the office. These individuals should be cross-trained as well so that there aren’t too many areas with one point of contact. Having a team with high-level of standards in place allows you to delegate responsibilities and tasks without concern. Overall, having colleagues whom you can trust is key to being able to step away for a few days, or more.

2. Instill a healthy work-life balance.

It’s important to lead by example. As an accounting, finance or IT leader, your role is to show that you care about a healthy work-life balance. One way to do so, is to live it yourself. When you’re on vacation, try your hardest to be fully hands-off, and you’ll show your colleagues that it’s OK for them to enjoy vacation when their time comes, as well. Year after year, vacation hours go unused in companies. Be sure to encourage your teams to take the time and not leave it on the table.

3. Start with baby steps.

If you absolutely cannot go on vacation without checking in on work, then start by setting some parameters for yourself. Designate one time of the day that you can check texts, emails and voicemails without disturbing your time with your loved ones. Make any and all responses during that timeframe so that you’re free to focus on your vacation the rest of the time. Additionally, be sure to let people know ahead of time that you’ll be out of the office, and unreachable. Most likely, they will understand and won’t unnecessarily disturb you on your vacation unless it’s an emergency.

What are some other ways for accounting, finance and IT leaders to effectively unplug while on vacation? Comment below and let us know!

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