Don’t stress about a three-day weekend

For many Americans, vacations are few and far between. Perhaps we should reserve a little more time to take off, relax and enjoy life.

But, if you’re like me, right before a vacation is when you feel the most stressed. When the focus really should be on the days of relaxation ahead, the plans and preparations can have their own unique stress factors.

Did I pack my swimsuit? Who has the camera? Where are the passports? Can I actually get all of this work done before we leave?

It never seems to end. So as I planned for an upcoming break from work, I made a conscious effort not to fall into my usual traps. Here are a few tips that helped me learn to chill out and maximize my vacations and long weekends.

1. Unplug, unplug, unplug. I know this is easier said than done, but it is a must. With all the mobile apps and online collaboration tools available, work is now wherever you go. A recent study showed that 61 percent of us will work while on vacation, so turn off your devices and step away from your email. Don’t even take any work calls; this vacation is about you.

2. Have a master plan. Failing to plan, is planning to fail. We’ve all heard this saying a thousand times, but how often do we really heed its advice. You need a plan that covers the work you must do before you leave and how to prioritize work when you get back. That way you’ll know what needs to come first when you return to work and avoid feeling overwhelmed. You don’t want all that stress-free time to be in vain.

3. Leave the guilt at home. A part of being productive and successful in your job is being well equipped. If you are starting to burn out or are feeling overworked, it affects your performance and your coworkers. You need time off to rejuvenate and find a fresh perspective for your job, so don’t feel guilty about the break — it’s important and well deserved.

I hope these tips are helpful; I‘ve certainly learned to live by them to enjoy my long weekends. What do you do to get the most out of your time away from work?

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