Before we dive into our top tips (and lessons learned) for setting yourself up to take a stress free vacation, let us be clear on what vacation means. When we use the word vacation we are not referring to a working vacation. Or a pretend vacation where you are on vacation but you are pretending you are not. Five years ago, a lot of us felt like we had it made if we could take our work with us because working from somewhere else or sneaking in a vacation seemed like a luxury. But nowadays the real luxury is taking a real vacation. The kind where you turn your out of office on for your email and you get real down time. And studies have shown that real vacations, where you can detach and relax, positively impact your health and well-being, whereas working vacations negatively impact your health and wellbeing. 

Also, understand that most of our clients are business owners. The buck starts and stops with them. They may have teams, assistants, partners but ultimately taking time off does not come with putting in for your vacation time. You are responsible for giving, carving out, and taking the time.

So taking a stress free vacation requires a few things

  1. Set the intention to take the time off…for real.
  2. Plan ahead and put it in your calendar.
  3. Block off that time so no one can schedule with you during that time.
  4. Adjust your projects to finish before you leave or after you get back.
  5. Set expectations with new and existing clients, colleagues or collaborators.
  6. Maintain boundaries – it will be tempting to make exceptions.
  7. Automate letting people know you are on vacation.

Automating letting people know you are on vacation could mean turning on your out of office reply, letting people know you are out, when you will be getting back to them and if relevant who to contact in your absence. And depending on what type of business you have it might make sense to post on social, send out a newsletter, or send a reminder email.

Watching people go through this process has been illuminating. The other thing to consider when traveling is to give yourself some buffer on either side of your vacation to handle the unexpected. If you book yourself up to the minute you leave and the minute you get back it will be a tough transition. And just as you use packing lists, we’ve seen our clients create lists of things they need to do before they leave and when they get back. That is especially helpful so that you know you aren’t holding all that information in your head and you can really let go and enjoy.

And that’s the point right, to enjoy your vacation, you earned it!