3 Ways To Make Your Next Vacation All Play, No Work

by Ian Altman for Forbes

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Vacation time — whether it’s a full two weeks or just a three-day weekend — should be just that: vacation time. It shouldn’t be another workday outside the office. Taking time off is important not just to recharge and refuel your body, it can also help clear your mind so you can look at things from different perspectives, or help you draw connections that perhaps you didn’t see before. In other words, time away from work makes you a more creative problem-solver. If all you do is work, even while on vacation, those muscles can’t be flexed.

Unfortunately, it’s something that happens all too frequently in the U.S. — often to the detriment of employers. The standard, full-time American work week is typically described as a 40-hour work week. Yet, working 50 to 70-plus hours isn’t unheard of, especially if you’re in business for yourself. But are the extra hours actually making you more productive or, for that matter, more effective? Studies show working more hours might not actually produce better work.

With some planning and discipline, you can make your next vacation or staycation a real success.

1. Plan Ahead
If you’re planning to take time off, set up your environment so you can leave work at the office without feeling guilty or anxious that something is being missed. More importantly, recruit other people (teammates, employees, assistants) to help you pull it off. For instance:

• Make a list of the top three things that absolutely need to be done by you before you leave. Then, delegate the rest – leaving clear instructions of what needs to be done by when, and who’ll be responsible for seeing to it those things get done.

• Make  a list of the top three things you need to address when you get back. This is important. Make sure you know in advance the things you plan to tackle once you get back to the office.

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