Updated: Mar 2, 2020
A vacation is supposed to be a time when you can unwind and relax, right? I imagine sitting by the pool wearing my favorite wide-brimmed pool hat. Palm trees and the ocean breeze. A good book in my hands.
Have you ever went on vacation and felt like you didn't get that down-time vacation feel? Often times, you still have things to get done that can rob you of the time you're supposed to be enjoying.
That's why carving out spaces in the schedule for yourself to use as you please can go a long way. Instead of scrambling to balance work and pleasure, you've already planned for both of them so you'll feel less overwhelmed by what's coming at you.
Here are some strategies to use intentional margins while on vacation...
1. Leave Some (Or All) Of Your Work At Home
Prioritize the list of tasks you have ahead of your vacation. Tackle the most important ones first that people are relying on a deadline – make sure they are cleared up before you grab your luggage.
With those out of the way, you can assess what you have left. Then ask yourself whether they're important enough that they will eat into your leisure time, or if they can be put off until you get back.
If you absolutely have to bring work, or take that phone call, plan for it. Communicating with your family and vacation partners what your work responsibilities are (and are not) also manages their expectations. Win-win.
2. Envision Leisure Goals
Vacation is more than just time that you're not in the office. Just like you plan for things you have to do that are work-related, you should do the same for things you want to see and do.
That's why you should create a time slot to achieve something while on vacation – whether that's seeing a famous landmark, going for a scenic hike, or having dinner at a restaurant that the locals keep talking about.
3. Choose Your Travel Companions Wisely
You may have your margins in place during vacation, but perhaps it conflicts with the expectations of your family and friends.
You may feel pressure to do the things they want to do. However, if you've already mapped out how your day is going to go, stick to it. Otherwise, you'll find your own leisure goals are lost and the time you have to complete work tasks becomes tighter.
4. Don't Feel The Need To Fill Gaps
While it can be helpful to have some travel goals in mind, the key here is to set aside time for you.
So if you don't have a particular site you want to visit, don't pass it off as wasted time and fill it with work (if, like me, you brought a couple things to "finish up"). If you've created a 3-hour margin for yourself, for example, use that time to wander and see what's happening out there. Bring a camera.
You might be surprised!
5. Turn Off Your Email Notifications
It's easy to peek at work emails coming in while you're relaxing on a beach or in a cafe. Don't. They will only serve to make you feel like you need to jump into action, which will disrupt the vacation flow you've intentionally created.
In fact, if you can, plan to make your vacation a digital detox. You'll feel better for it.
Always Use Intentional Margins While on Vacation
Time away from the office is supposed to be a chance to unwind and come back refreshed. But if you don't use intentional margins while on vacation, you could come back feeling like you missed out on it.
To find out more about staying on track while on vacation, or to raise your self-awareness, book a chat.