7 Tips to Help You Unplug from Work During the Holidays


It’s the holiday season.

Many people will be taking time off. Yet, many will still be “working” while they are away from the office.

Will you truly unplug during your vacation? Or will you continue to be at the beck and call of your email, messages, and notifications?

Phoning It In While Away

I was recently on a conference call where one of the participants was dialed-in remotely.

At the end of the call, there was some small talk, and I innocently asked where they were today. It was meant simply as a curiosity question since they are normally local. I expected that they were working at a client site or perhaps from home.

However, their answer surprised me. Instead, the individual said he was calling from Florida where his family was on vacation.

My next question just sort of slipped out, “Why are you calling in if you are on vacation?

(Not Really) On Vacation

It is amazing how many people don’t take their vacation. Over 80% of Americans do not use all of their allocated time off.

Even more amazing is how many people still work while they are on vacation. (I don’t have a stat for that.)

Do you actually take your vacation?

Or like many, do you constantly check emails, send messages, and answer phone calls?

Much of this “Not really on Vacation” is due to our technology. Instead, of using it for a productivity enabler, it becomes a leash that never lets you stop working.

“When you are on vacation… be on vacation. Your work will still be there when you return.”

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Here are 7 Tips to Help You Unplug During the Holidays:

  1. Turn Email Off on Your Phone – Most people don’t need email on their phone period. However, you definitely don’t need remote access to it while on vacation. Resist the urge to check it anytime and anywhere.
  2. Check It Once a Day – If you must check email, then set a specific time, and then check it once and only once a day. Daily is enough to keep up with most business issues.
  3. Turn Off Notifications – Phones are great at interrupting our daily lives, they are even better at beeping and chirping while we are away. Don’t let your phone be a constant source of noise and distraction while on vacation.
  4. Screen Your Calls – It can be really difficult to resist a ringing phone. Yet, while you are on vacation you need to screen your calls. All of them. Chances are that myriad people have your cell number. Just because it rings, doesn’t mean you have to answer it. That’s what voice mail is for. Even seemingly innocent calls, can turn into large interruptions and sources of stress.
  5. Delegate Your Responsibilities – Who do you leave your work with? No one is indispensable in their job, and the best way to avoid your work catching up with you on vacation is to delegate it to someone else who is responsible. Make sure you make it clear who is doing your tasks while you are away.
  6. Set Expectations – As important as delegating your work, it to set clear expectations while you are away. When you will be away, when you will be back, how (and when) you can be reached in an emergency. It can even be valuable to define “what constitutes an emergency.”
  7. Let Accidents Happen – This tip makes some people uncomfortable. But, the simple truth is that to truly unplug you have to be willing to let the small things sometimes drop.

Unplug During Your Time Off

Make sure you unplug during your time off this holiday season.

There is no need to let your email and work interrupt your hard-earned time off.

So, leave your work at work. The world won’t end, and it will be waiting for you when you get back.

Question: Are you able to unplug when you are on vacation? Or do you continue to do work while away? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

7 thoughts on “7 Tips to Help You Unplug from Work During the Holidays

  1. Great post, Craig. Love you’re line: “When you’re on vacation…be on vacation.” I know so many people who work on their vacation. That has always be crazy to me. Thanks for the tips to help me unplug.

  2. One additon to your list: 8. Find something else to do!

    I know so many people who just don’t know what to do with their lives when they’re not working – holidays make them anxious!

  3. This was a great post to read as I am getting ready to leave for a vacation. I had one of those aha moments after I read it. I realized how annoying I must be to my family! I am guilty of being “that” person. I am going to try to focus on everything and every one that really matters to me except work and put my phone on silence, in my purse! Hoping for a better attitude and better Christmas. Thanks for your post!

  4. Thanks for the post Craig. It’s definitely tough to unplug from work for me. I check my phone too much, which is pretty much 1& 2. lol. I try my best to set aside time to rest, but it does take discipline to make it work.

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