Summer is in full swing! Have you set some time aside to rest? Whether you’re heading out on a quick vacation or have the opportunity for a longer sabbatical, it can be difficult to “turn it off” and truly unplug, rest and recharge. 

We’ve all been there: finally arriving at the long-anticipated vacation destination, ready to kick back and relax, when… “Ding!” The notifications start pouring in, and unless you’re truly off the grid, work continues to pester you and threatens to derail your vacation. And while it sounds like an easy concept, truly tuning out is far harder in practice. So how can you finally “turn it off” this summer?

Be Prepared
Your job is important. You fill a vital role at your organization, so of course you can’t just up and disappear and expect to pick back up right where you left off when you return from vacation. But if your organization prioritizes collaboration and communication, your team should be able to shoulder some of your load while you’re out of office - and you can return the favor, too. 

This is where the Boy (and Girl!) Scout Motto comes in handy: Be Prepared. Set your team up for success by looking ahead to both while you’re gone and after to assess what work you need to do up front so no balls are dropped in your absence. Clearly assign particular meetings or tasks to other teammates, draft a detailed Out Of Office email response so people trying to reach you can get the information they need while you’re gone, and get that inbox organized so you can jump right back in upon your return without feeling overwhelmed. Taking these steps a few days or weeks ahead of your scheduled break will help you rest and relax more easily.

Set Yourself Up for Success
Now that you have your responsibilities at work covered, don’t let yourself slide back into old habits. If possible, remove your work email from your phone (even if you need to check in every other day via a laptop). Decide ahead of time if or when you will check in with your team so you’re not tempted to work when you should be resting. The key is to determine these boundaries before your vacation starts, and then remove any potential temptations. Unplug your computer, leave your iPhone in your hotel room, or turn off all notifications. It may take a few days to get out of the habit of constantly checking in, and some detox may be necessary. That’s when you’ll thank yourself for setting clear boundaries ahead of time so you can be truly present!

Get Everyone On Board
Of course, this only works if those around you know you are trying to unplug and support you. Your team at work needs to understand you can’t be reached at a moment’s notice. Be sure to share your work and technology boundaries with any family and friends you’ll be traveling or spending time with so they can help hold you accountable. And make sure your spouse or others you’ll be around agree to “turn it off” too so that you’re not around others constantly checking in or fighting the urge to work during vacation.

Yes, your to-do list is long, but it turns out your time off will actually help you accomplish MORE in the long run. Do yourself a favor and finally use that vacation time you have saved up. Your health, family, friends, and yes, your workplace will thank you!