Summer’s coming. Have you planned your vacation yet?
What’s that? You’re too busy to take a vacation?
The experts say that taking a vacation is a great way to improve your mental health, find creative inspiration, renew relationships with your loved ones, and even become more productive. And yet, we find so many excuses not to get away.
I’m guilty of it too. There is always something something that needs to be done, a commitment to honor, a deadline to meet. And before you know it, the year has gone by and you are trying to convince yourself that next year you will take that vacation. Sound familiar?
Instead, make a commitment to yourself, and to your family, and take that much-needed getaway this year. Step away from your work and get ready to step into a relaxing vacation with these 5 tips:
1. Clear your schedule. Pick a week, or two, and mark it on your calendar. Do not plan anything else during your time away. That includes conference calls. Let everyone at work know that you will be unavailable. If you can delegate tasks to a colleague or assistant, even better. Also, avoid setting any deadlines during your immediate return, so that you don’t feel as if something is hanging over your head the whole time you are trying to relax.
2. Set a budget. There is no point in going on vacation if you are going to stress over money the entire time you’re away. Instead, figure out what you can afford to spend and set aside that amount in advance. Having a realistic budget in place will help you to relax more while on vacation, and you won’t spend the rest of the year paying for it.
3. Determine your priorities. What is most important for you on vacation? Would you rather enjoy 5-star dining or full-day excursions? With your budget in place, you can start to figure out what is most important for you and plan where to spend your money accordingly.
4. Book in advance. I’m not talking about trying to re-create the Griswold’s European vacation, where every second of the day is planned out in minute detail, but do at least do some research to determine which hotels, restaurants, and companies you would like to do business with before you leave home. Make reservations early, if possible, so that you can avoid having to scramble at the last minute when your preferred attraction is booked. A little bit of planning can go a long way when you are in a strange area and are trying to decide what to do.
5. Unplug. Once you leave for your vacation, turn your phone off. Leave the laptop at home. Focus your concentration on your loved ones. Set up an out-of-office auto-reply for your email so that people will know that they should not expect a response from you until you return. Provide the name of someone else they can contact should they need immediate assistance. While you’re at it, do the same for your voice mail. You deserve to be able to relax without such distractions, and your family deserves some time with you when they are not competing for your attention.
Remember, the world will not end while you are away. (And if it does, wouldn’t you rather be laying on a beach somewhere rather than stuck in the office?) You can catch up on anything you missed when you return happier, more rested, and with a renewed energy that helps make you more productive.
All this being said, I am taking my own advice this year and going on vacation. How about you?