9 Ways to Maximize Your Time off Work

Did you know that making the most of your time off can help you perform better at work, be more productive and improve your job satisfaction, according to the Society for Human Resource Management?

You perform best when you’re well rested, and downtime is the perfect way to rejuvenate. In fact, it’s the best way to ensure you’re feeling content — and productive — when it’s time to return to the office.

Whether you want to make the most of your weekend or that well-earned week of vacation, try these 9 ways to maximize your time off work:

1. Understand the Value of Time Off

If you understand the importance of unwinding, you’ll be more likely to actively unplug. Everyday stress disrupts your body’s ability to fight infection, function optimally and even prevent injuries, according to experts at Argosy University’s College of Counseling, Psychology and Social SciencesRead up on the physical, mental, social and even economic benefits of stress relief to motivate yourself naturally. You’ll be more inclined to de-stress if you’re aware of all the advantages.

2. Make a Plan

As you plan your weekend or vacation, block off certain times for “adulting.” Schedule tasks such as filing taxes, running errands and checking work emails. Once the time for these activities is up, force yourself to disengage. Otherwise, these odd jobs can take time away from what’s most important: relaxing.

3. Expect Surprises

Interruptions are part of life, so schedule them in too. A good friend might beg you to help him move furniture at the last minute, your children might need your undivided attention, or you may suddenly remember that the dog needs a prescription filled. Set aside a block of time to take care of any unexpected tasks. It’s a great way to fulfill these responsibilities without sacrificing your own time for enrichment, and if nothing unexpected pops up, you’ll have another couple of hours to kick back and relax.

4. Delegate

If you’re heading out of the office for a few days of vacation, leave your work in the capable hands of someone you trust so you don’t worry while you’re away. As for that never-ending fix-it list at home, identify a few tasks that you could have a professional handle. You’ll enjoy the satisfaction of getting the jobs done without blowing the whole weekend knocking out chores. Of course, you may not be able to delegate everything, but a little help can make a world of difference.

5. Use Technology

Turn on your out-of-office response to automatically let coworkers and clients know when you’ll be back in touch. It’s a simple task that can give you peace of mind. If you know they’ll receive a reply, you’ll be less tempted to answer emails.

6. Pack Light

When vacationing, try to leave your laptop at home. Stay accessible through your mobile device alone, but consider leaving the notifications turned off. This can help relieve the urge to check in every 30 minutes, but still allows you to monitor emails for any red flags.

7. Redefine Buzzwords

Scratch the term “working vacation” from your vocabulary. There’s no such thing. Reconsider “time management” too — time cannot be managed (think about it), but you can always manage yourself. Transfer half of your to-do list to a “don’t-do” list until vacation is over.

8. Take the Road Less Traveled

Just sign up for that zip line adventure or snorkeling excursion already. Explore. Go off the beaten path where the cell service is spotty and your only communication is with your loved ones, and maybe some colorful locals. You’ll be glad you did.

9. Inspire Others

When you do return to civilization, don’t check in with your colleagues just to ask about the progress they made while you were away. Instead, share your vacation selfies and encourage coworkers to plan genuine time off work too. Setting this example shows your self-respect and lust for life — contagious characteristics that benefit everyone in the office.

Preparing for time off work is a great way to make the most of your hard-earned leave.

But before you go off and relax — do you know someone who tends to work from the beach? Share this article with them as a friendly reminder that taking time to unplug can benefit the whole team.

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