[Expert Hours] Join us on March 20th: Maximize Time Off While Ensuring Legal Compliance Register Now

Table Of Contents

How to Not Stress About Work on Vacation

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Table Of Contents

Ah, vacations. They’re the golden nuggets in our endlessly busy schedules, the magical times when we get to swap the monotony of work for the excitement of new adventures. And yet, how many times have you found yourselves sipping a piña colada on a beach, only to be mentally dragged back to a spreadsheet? Are you finding yourself checking your email for the tenth time in 20 minutes? If you’re sitting there nodding, then this guide is for you — you need to learn how to not stress about work on vacation.

So without further ado, here’s how to actually leave work behind when you’re on vacation.

How to Not Stress About Work on Vacation

Make Sure to Plan Ahead 

And we’re not just talking about your vacation outfits.

Preparation is key in learning how to not stress about work on vacation. So before you leave, tidy up all loose ends. Make a list of tasks you need to complete and set realistic goals for what you can finish before you leave. Deciding what takes precedence in your to-do list is a personal journey, and it’s all about finding a groove that suits you best. Take a peek at your calendar and let that be your compass. Then, gather your tasks into a master list — the big ones, the small ones, they all count.

Remember, the only list you should be checking twice on vacation is the cocktail menu!

Set an Out of Office (OOO) Response

Before heading out, have a chat with your colleagues and let them know you’ll genuinely be off the radar. This mutual understanding can help avoid any unrealistic expectations of you being available during your time off. Effectively communicating about your whereabouts goes a long way, we promise!

An even better way to do this is to set an OOO response. Your OOO is the protective barrier between your sun-kissed vacation mode and the chaotic world of work. Make sure it’s clear about when you’ll return and whom to contact in your absence, and who your duties are being passed over to. This way, anyone who emails you knows not to expect an immediate reply and is prepared accordingly.

Here’s a tip: make your OOO message a little humorous or fun. It subtly communicates, “I’m on vacation and enjoying it. So should you!” Click here to use our free OOO generator for a head start.

Follow the Digital Detox trend

If you’re finding yourself constantly on your phone or laptop even when you’re on vacation, it may be time for a digital detox, which is basically a fancy term for ditching your devices. 

It’s not about completely cutting off from the digital world. It’s about being mindful and selective about your screen time. So if you can, try to limit the amount of time you spend on your phone or computer. Decide on specific times when you’ll check emails or messages, and stick to it.

Think about it – do you want your most memorable vacation moment to be that stunning sunset or the 30 minutes you spent responding to emails?

Delegate, Delegate, Delegate

If you have a team, trust them.

Here’s the thing: delegation is not about dodging work or passing the buck. It’s all about giving your colleagues a chance to shine and cutting yourself some slack in the process. By doing this, you’re not just lightening your workload; you’re giving your team a chance to flex their skills and grow. Think of it as a puzzle where each piece fits perfectly. Your trust is the glue holding it all together. As you hand over the reins, you’re not only creating a smoother workflow but also showing your team that you believe in their abilities. Talk about a win-win.

Remember, if the office was on fire, they probably wouldn’t email you. They’d call the fire department. 

Focus on the Present

Mindfulness is more than just a buzzword; it’s a way of life. So if you want to learn how to not stress about work on vacation, start by immersing yourself in your surroundings. 

Feel the sand between your toes, listen to the waves crashing, and relish in the flavor of local delicacies. These sensory experiences can work wonders for your mental state, diverting your attention from work and anchoring you in the present moment. These sensory encounters have a knack for gently steering your focus away from work worries and redirecting it to the present instant. It’s like a mental reset button. 

Let’s face the facts: when you’re marveling at the beauty of nature or savoring the essence of a new place, there’s little room for the buzzing thoughts of work emails or deadlines.

Remember Why You’re There

Vacations are not just a luxury, they’re a necessity. After all, they’re designed for relaxation and rejuvenation. They’re your body’s equivalent of hitting the ‘refresh’ button. 

When you take the time to step away, you’re giving your mind the chance to decompress, your creativity to recharge, and your overall well-being to reset. It’s like pressing the ‘refresh’ button on your entire system.

And here’s the intriguing twist: your breaks don’t just impact you; they extend their magic to your workplace too. Think about it – a more rested, reenergized you translates to a more engaged, focused, and productive you at work. It’s like a domino effect of positivity that can uplift your team and even the entire organization. Without these breaks, we risk burnout, decreased productivity, and even health issues. Who wants to deal with that?

Set Realistic Boundaries

If you absolutely must check in with work, make sure to set specific boundaries. 

As counterintuitive as it sounds, if it’s just emails that are keeping you up at night, you can schedule pockets of time during your vacation to just clean out your inbox. This could be a limited time each day or every other day and it applies to anything from emails to a quick Slack message. However, it’s important to stick to this schedule rigidly and communicate it to your colleagues.

By doing so, you’re not just maintaining control over your work interactions, but also maintaining your peace of mind. It’s about finding that sweet spot between staying connected and cherishing your well-deserved break. So, think of it as a win-win strategy that lets you stay in the loop without letting it overshadow your time away.

Embrace the Unpredictable

Let’s be real: sometimes, despite our best efforts, work might seep into our vacation. 

So instead of stressing, try to approach it with flexibility. Handle the situation, then promptly return to vacation mode. While work matters may occasionally command attention, the crux is to maintain a fluid movement between addressing them and embracing the tranquility that your vacation offers.

Remember, in the grand scheme of life, both good pina coladas and work issues are temporary!

Wrapping it up

Vacations are sacred. They’re the times we get to recharge, explore new places, and make memories. But for these experiences to be genuinely fulfilling, you need to leave work where it belongs: at work, and learn how to not stress about work on vacation.

The next time you find yourself reaching for your phone to check that email while on vacation, pause and ask yourself, “Is this email more important than this precious, fleeting moment of relaxation?”

Remember, emails will always be there, but that perfect vacation sunset? It waits for no one.

Snigdha Gupta
Snigdha Gupta

An avid writer and aspiring marketer, Snigdha is a student at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business.

Top 5 HR Software to Boost Team Collaboration

Top 5 HR Software to Boost Team Collaboration

Read more
Relevance of Hourly PTO for Marketing Agencies

Relevance of Hourly PTO for Marketing Agencies

Read more
Manage Time Off in Lieu (TOIL) in Vacation Tracker

Manage Time Off in Lieu (TOIL) in Vacation Tracker

Read more

Do you want to simplify PTO tracking?

Schedule a free consultation with our team to learn how Vacation Tracker can help you.

Request a demo