Five Ways a CEO Can Truly Unplug on Vacation and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves

I just returned from a blissful two-week vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. The weather was perfect and the island’s spectacular scenery set the stage for ultimate relaxation. Because hindsight is 20/20, I can reflect now on how easy it was to take the longest vacation since starting my PR company 20 years ago. Especially since it went off without a hitch. But in truth – without doing these five things there is no way I could have truly unplugged.

One – Plan ahead. This means that I worked my tail off to get everything done before I left. In fact, I finished work that wasn’t due until well into the week I was back so that re-entry into work wasn’t a total scramble to complete tasks.

Two – Commit to not working. Easier said than done with my iPhone and iPad at hand. Still the white knuckle death grip loosened as my vacation unfolded and in no time I was only checking emails twice a day.

Three – The daily re-cap. My amazing number two sent me an end-of-day recap, which was a great way to stay updated and tee me up for a relaxing dinner. Even though a storm took down the internet lines in front of the office – prohibiting anyone from occupying the building – and a few other head-spinning near disasters, I got a report of the actions being taken to solve the problems. And FYI, we’re still standing.

Four – Set boundaries that vacation means vacation. Sure, I got a few urgent requests. But I stood my ground. And I’m glad I did because my time away really helped me come back with great ideas and energy.

Five – Come home on Saturday instead of Sunday. As sad as we were to watch the beautiful island shrink to a postage-sized stamp of a memory as we flew away, getting back on Saturday gave us a full day to deal with returning. We shopped for healthy food for the week, went through all the mail and dealt with the major cold shoulder of a Jack Russell Terrier who does not like to be left.

Did I completely unplug? I could lie and say yes. But the truth is that I love what I do and I don’t want to miss a thing.

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