Six Keys to Really Enjoying Your Vacation

When is the last time you were ‘really’ on vacation? No Blackberry, no cell phone, no faxes at the hotel? You can take a vacation. You need to take a vacation. Your family and friends need you to take a vacation. Actually being on vacation is a choice. And here are some tips to making the choice work for you Kayaking.

If you start with your briefcase and triple check that you have the power cords for your Blackberry and your laptop when you begin to pack for your vacation, you definitely need to read this article.

If you make a to-do list of the things you need to get done for work while you are gone, you better read on.

Even if you only plan to call in for your messages “a couple times a day,” you’ll want to continue reading.

The urge to work while on vacation has never been stronger. Our busy schedules and the constant availability of technology adds to the pressure we all feel. With contact so easy, and with the lines between work and home so blurred during the rest of our lives, it is easy to see why vacation can be a struggle for any of us.

If you want to put more balance in your life and vacation, read on. These practical tips will help you (and your family) enjoy your vacation more, guaranteed.


If you want to have a vacation that is more vacation and less work, it all starts with a choice. Am I willing to, and will I, leave the Blackberry off and not check my voice mail? While it is easy to make this statement, making the choice might be very hard. Hard or easy, in the end, it is as simple as a choice. If you choose not to work or be distracted by work-related items while on your vacation, you won’t be.

Urgent vs. Important

The ease of contact that technology brings us makes this choice even more clear. 30 years ago if you went on vacation it was harder to be sucked back into work because there weren’t so many easy ways to be in touch. With the cell phone, laptop, and internet everywhere, it is easy to assume that everything back at work is urgent.

Most of it isn’t.

The decision or mental “tug” to work while on vacation is about the urgent things in life. Your family (or your vacation in general) is quite likely more important to you, but it is the perceived urgency of the work that draws us back in. Remember what is really important to you. During a vacation is an especially good time to remain focused on the important; and not the merely urgent things in our lives.

Remove the Distractions

Leave your phone in the room; your Blackberry will be just fine in the drawer. If you leave the gadgets in your room all day instead of carrying them with you everywhere you go, you’ll be far less likely to check your messages while you’re in line for the ride or sitting by the beach.

Communicate Clearly

If you do have to work at all while on vacation, set boundaries and gain agreement with your traveling companions. If there is a particular thing that you have to do, let everyone know what it is – they will more likely support you if they know about it and how important and/or time critical it is. Then do only that thing! Don’t use that as an “opening” to work as much as you feel you need to.

Segment Your Time

I am writing this as the rest of my family sleeps. This allows me to be fully engaged in my vacation, and still finish something that truly needs to be done. If you must work, budget the time tightly, and do it when it least impacts those important people with you.

Have a Plan

Have a plan at work before you leave. Change your voice mail and email announcement to let people know you aren’t in touch for several days. This will leave you with fewer urgent items on your return, and lower your anxiety level while you are gone.

Keeping these six things in mind will give you greater balance and help make your next vacation as refreshing and rejuvenating as it can be. Take these actions and you’ll have you best vacation ever, and you will return better equipped both mentally and physically to be highly effective back at work.

Potential Principle – When you are on vacation, you need to be on vacation! Recognize that while your work may be urgent, your vacation and the people you are spending it with are truly important. Keeping this in mind will help you have the vacation you deserve.

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