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How to Truly Unplug When You're on Vacation

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Marsha Egan:Warm weather, sandy beaches and ... your BlackBerry?!

woman in a hammock

Summer vacation is a time for moms to relax and have uninterrupted time with the family ... or at least it should be. According to an study, 30 percent of working Americans say they stress about work while they're on vacation! Advancements in technology have made it easy to stay connected to the office using your BlackBerry, remote access or Skype, but the ability to stay in the loop (unless you're talking about waterslides) is a direct threat to your vacation.

Luckily, there are ways to save your summer getaway -- and the process starts with you. Example: When I went on summer vacation this year, I actually told my PR agency, "Unless it's an emergency or Oprah wants me on her show, I'm on vacation."

Getting some quality R&R should be your most important priority this summer vacation. While normally people should strive for a work-life balance, on vacation, it's time to tip the scale by following a few easy steps:

  • Put the Friggin' Gizmo Down!Many of us constantly check our BlackBerrys, e-mail and cell phones for messages throughout the day. The issue is not that people at work need you, it's that you want them to need you. Minimize this "e-ddiction" by turning all devices off for at least one day. (Ask a trusted coworker to check your e-mail at the end of each day to make sure nothing important slips by.) For many people, doing this grows into an extremely freeing experience! If you MUST check your e-mail while on vacation, limit yourself to once a day -- and make sure your fellow vacationers hold you to it.
  • Leave Coworkers With the Right Tools.Before you go on your big trip, set up a vacation message on voicemail and e-mail. Let everyone know that you will have limited access to your phone and e-mail, and direct them to whom they can contact in your absence. Also, make sure that the people left at work will have the right tools (i.e., files, instructions, contact information) to take care of your workload while you're gone. You'll rest a lot easier knowing your coworkers have what they need to do your job.
  • Make Sure You Don't Have to Ask, "Did I Leave the Oven On?"To keep your mind off the safety of your house, get a neighbor to come by and check on it once or twice while you're gone, even if there are no pets to feed or plants to water. This will give you the peace of mind to focus completely on the task at hand -- namely, lying in the hammock or swimming in the pool.
  • Recognize That There Are Better Things to Surf Than the Web.We all have our favorite news sites and blogs that keep us informed and connected, but forget about the world for a week and live in the moment. Try something new and exciting! Make memories with the people you're with by packing your vacation with activities that the whole family can enjoy together. If you absolutely must have some Internet time on vacation, try running a search on what the most popular attractions in the area are.

Stress is an unfortunate part of most jobs, but there's no reason to bring it with you on vacation. Your travel reservations shouldn't come with reservations about work. Hopefully, these tips will help you truly chill out as you enjoy the warm, sunny weather this summer vacation. Trust me, moms: You deserve it.

Bon voyage!

Named one of Pennsylvania's 50 Best Women in Business, Marsha Egan is a professional speaker and executive coach who has addressed over 50,000 people throughout the world. Marsha is president and CEO of The Egan Group, Inc., an executive- and life-coaching firm that motivates business leaders to master the people-side of business growth. She is the author of "Inbox Detox" and "The Habit of E-Mail Excellence" (Acanthus, 2009), a book that helps employees and executives examine and improve their e-mail habits to save time and increase productivity. Please visit Marsha's webpage, blog or morning-blend service for other useful tips and to learn more about her.

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