Life & Work Skills

How to Plan Your Work Schedule for a True Vacation


Vacations always sound like a great idea, until you’re stuck at work until 2 am the night before and realize you’ll be checking your email the whole time you’re away. And that counteracts all the positive that comes with vacations in the first place — relaxation, sleep, and a much-needed break from your inbox. If you have a trip on the horizon, these steps will help get you situated.


Prep beforehand

The only thing worse than working over vacation is feeling anxious over vacation. Specifically, feeling anxious about the piles of work you have awaiting your return. To avoid that feeling, prep in advance as much as possible. Knocking out tasks before you leave will make the weeks after less stressful, and you’ll be able to actually appreciate your time away.


Plan two months out

If you think about it, missing 40 hours of work is a lot of missed time. Of course, everyone’s job is different, and some can delegate more than others, but, if not, the math is simple: you must find time to make up 40 hours. Start planning eight weeks in advance, and add in an extra hour to work each day. If you don’t have two months, adjust the math to however far out you’re planning. A little goes a long way!


Make a deal

If there’s someone on your team who can handle emails or any minor issues while you’re gone, beg them. This will limit texts/calls while you’re away and prevents email overload with problems that could have been solved without you. The next time your teammate takes their vacation, you know what to do.


Clear the week leading up to it

If possible, don’t take on any new projects the week before you leave or commit to going to after-work functions (yes, even when the wine is free). You’ll need this week to assess last-minute issues, and you don’t want to break any promises.


Source: @twentysomethingplus


Take an extra day off on either side

To be able to focus on work until your vacay starts, give yourself a day in between work and your vacation. Yes, even if it means cutting your actual trip shorter. This can serve as a day for packing, errands, and getting your personal life in order — without stressing about fitting that and work in. Do the same on your return; leave a day for laundry, catching up on sleep, and getting your life organized. By the time you get back to the office, you’ll be ready to crush it.



Receiving a couple subscription-based emails each day isn’t a huge deal, but add them to the other emails you’ll receive over vacation — and boom, your inbox is a mess. Before you step out, use a service like to unsubscribe from anything unnecessary (the Nordstrom sale alerts can wait).


Log off

If you tell people you’ll be available on your trip, they’ll reach out — without question. Instead, use an “Out Of Office” that clearly states your unavailability, with a date they can expect to hear from you by. Add in your teammate’s information for emergency, and worst case scenario, that teammate can call and pass on a message if absolutely necessary.


Feel ready for a real vacation now? How do you prep for an upcoming break from work?