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How to Stay Productive (and Stress-Free) While Taking Time Off

Have you ever taken a vacation, only to spend hours cooped up in your hotel room answering emails and taking unscheduled client calls instead of relaxing by the pool or playing with your kids?

Or have you been putting off a much-needed break because you dread the inevitable pileup of work in your inbox that you’ll have to tackle when you get back?

Perhaps you’ve taken a few days off work, unplugged your laptop, and even deleted your email app off your phone, only to find your mind keeps wandering back to all the work you’ll have to catch up on when you get back. You can’t seem to shrug off that feeling of dread and you end your vacation feeling even more stressed, anxious, and worried.

If any of that sounds like you – I have good news. It doesn’t have to be that way!

Taking time off can be stress-free, relaxing, and productive. In this article, I share my tried-and-tested, 8-step process to reduce worry and anxiety and help you feel calm, confident, and empowered as you plan and take your well-earned break!

To best support and nurture yourself and to give you ample time to prepare, try starting these 8 steps at least 2 weeks before you head out on vacation!

Step 1: Plan for Your Time Off

Nope, I’m not referring to hotel bookings or reservations at that fancy restaurant you’ve been wanting to check out (although that’s something fun to plan for too!). Being productive even when you’re on vacation really comes down to planning how you will manage your time away.

My biggest tip is to plan for an extra week in addition to the time you will be away. It sounds unusual, but it works! Clearing off your schedule and having all your content prepared for an additional week after you return from your vacation gives you a WHOLE week to ease back into work mode after your time away. It also gives you buffer time to prepare for the coming week(s) - I’m talking about lots of time to sort through your inbox and perhaps even explore your creativity! Doesn’t that sound much better than having to hit the ground running after some restorative time off?

Step 2: Organize Your Tasks & To-Do’s

Once you’ve figured out how much time you need to plan for, you can start organizing your tasks and figuring out your to-do list for when you are away and the one additional week. If that feels overwhelming, start by listing out all your recurring tasks. What are some things that have to get done every day/week/month to keep your business running smoothly?

If you’ve never made a list like this before, it can feel like you’re spending a lot of time on this upfront, but trust me - it is 100% worth it! Some common recurring tasks wellness entrepreneurs often have include:

  • Writing email newsletters

  • Posting on social media

  • Paying bills

  • Preparing and releasing podcast episodes

  • Responding to emails

  • Scheduling and registration

  • Recording classes or workshops

  • Writing and publishing blog posts

  • Following up with clients

Once you have the list of recurring tasks, take a look at your calendar or agenda to see if you have any one-off tasks to be completed within the time frame of your vacation, such as renewing an annual subscription or meeting a deadline for a grant application. Add those to your list too.