How to actually unplug for a relaxing vacation
Put down the cellphone and step away from your email app: it’s time for vacation! Your summer getaway should be just that, which means you’ll have to unplug yourself from the stresses of everyday life. Nowhere is that attachment stronger than in your inbox.
If you shuddered while reading the above proposition, you’re not alone. However, it’s easy to make the switch – and switch your devices off – on your next vacation. Read on to find out how you can truly unplug and unwind, whether you’re napping in a hammock next to the sea or napping on your very own couch.
1. Plan ahead
You know how you’ll get there, where you’re going to eat and at what interval you’ll change sides to ensure an even tan. You should put this much thought into your pretrip preparation, too. Work ahead so you won’t stress about coming back to an overdue set of projects and deadlines. This will relieve you of any inclination to sneak in some work while you’re on holiday.
2. Let people know you’re out
Your job might be less projects and deadlines, more meetings and sales pitches. If that’s the case, start letting people know you’ll be gone as soon as possible. Send personal emails to your most valuable clients, and give them the contact information of a co-worker who can help them while you’re out. You can also send out a mass email to colleagues and other contacts. You might even want to update your e-mail signature in advance to show the dates you’ll be out of the office, just for further awareness of your plans to go off the grid.
Then, set up an out-of-the-office reply just in case anyone forgets. The friendly reminder should be enough to hold everyone over until you return, and knowing that it’s on should be enough to keep you from checking your messages while you’re away.
3. For emergency use only
OK, OK: we know that some of you have even more important positions than the ones described above. Your colleagues might just have to get in touch with you for a question or concern, and that’s fine. The way to ensure that you’re only contacted in case of a true workplace emergency is to give your contact information to one single co-worker that you trust. He or she should have a sense of what’s truly important and what’s solvable without you, so you’re only woken from your white-sand-beach nap for something truly vital.
4. Be anti-social
On your next vacation, take a vow of silence … on social media, of course. For one, it’s a vacuum of your time, and it could cause you to miss out on a memorable activity or moment that’s happening right in front of you. It’s also often used for workplace promotion and connection, so don’t let it make you slip up. You could promise yourself that you won’t use them or even erase them from your device, just to be sure. A little bit is OK – we know how fun it is to post an Instagram photo of your view for the week – but get rid of it if you know you’ll go overboard.
5. Go off the power grid
You might just think we sound crazy, but you can all but ensure you’re off the grid by going off the electric grid. There are plenty of incredible outdoor vacation destinations, such as the Olympic National Park and other campsites across the U.S., where access to power is limited if not entirely unavailable. Without a charged device, you simply can’t open your email or answer calls.
If an outdoor adventure isn’t necessarily your calling, try finding middle ground by limiting your access to wireless Internet. That’ll cut down your surfing time and inspire you to get out and actually enjoy your vacation.
6. Crack open a book
Remember those things made out of paper with words inside of them? They didn’t always live on tablets. Go back to basics on your next vacation and grab a book or two to keep you company while you relax. Without a tablet, you’ll be less tempted to surf the Web and peek at any work-related messages or websites. Let a story keep you busy until you have to go back to reality.
7. Stay true to your word
Your next vacation will set the standard for any future vacations to come. Imagine that you tell everyone you’re going off the grid and won’t be responding to any messages for a week. What will they think if, despite all of the buildup, you continue to answer emails or calls or work on projects? They’ll think that you don’t truly plan to take a break, and they won’t expect any day off to be a day off. You also don’t want to earn the reputation of the person who doesn’t stay true to her word. If that’s not inspiration enough to shut it down on your next vacation, that we don’t know what is.
Now, close this webpage, turn off your phone, tie on your sarong, get out there and relax. You deserve it.