My #1 trick for a work-free vacation

Have you ever gone on vacation, only to be distracted by your own to do list running on an endless loop in your brain? I admit it: I’ve ruined vacations by hopping on conference calls, meeting deadlines, and responding quickly to emails.

It’s not so easy to turn off work and focus on vacation for a week.

Or is it?

Studies prove vacations make you more productive.

You’ll be doing your job AND be a better employee if you take a break. GET THAT FACT INGRAINED IN YOUR HEAD, LADIES.

If you are out of the office but your mind is in the office, can you truly relax? All you’ve done is waste your vacation days. Here is how you can give your brain a rest on vacation, and it’s so, SO simple.

Before you record your out of office voicemail (which takes at least six attempts, haha) and compose your eloquent out of office message, do a brain dump of all the things you need to do next when you’re back in the office.

Do a brain dump

This brain dump list does not – and should not be – organized. Write it down in your planner (my favorite is this $12 daily planner in a Levenger Circa notebook), in an excel sheet, in the notes app on your iPhone. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is you get all of the things you want to do next, in one list, that you can review the day you are back from vacation.

  • What are things you wished you’d completed today?
  • Who are the people you should call?
  • What projects need your attention?
  • What ideas do you have that you want to think about later?

Write it all down.

The list will be there, waiting for you.

Your to-do items will not be lingering in the back of your brain. A random project will not be nagging “don’t forget!” while you’re trying to enjoy your family. You’ll be able to turn your attention to vacation.

All of those tasks and projects will be waiting for you the week you return. You’ll be refreshed. Rejuvenated. Energized. Probably more ready for another vacation than being back at work… and you’ll probably have sloth-like motivation to tackle the to do list the day you return. But your list will be there, written down, the catch-all “don’t forget me!” list that allowed you to focus on vacation and forget about work. Then, you can get to work and check off your list, when you’re ready.

me on vacation, not thinking about work

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