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Nov 23 2008

5 Vacation Productivity Tips

Vacation Productivity
I am going away tomorrow to Centerparcs with my family. I am looking forward to a nice week in the forest spending quality time with my family.

Like many people, I work hard and taking time out is quite hard due to the pressures of running your own business. However, bonding and spending quality time with your family is also very important and getting that work life balance is always key. I have four children so spending time with them is one of my main priorities but luckily I am home a lot so get a lot of time to spend with them.

Luckily, I have always been able to utilize my vacations as great “think tanks”. I always seem to come out of a vacation more energized than when I went in. Some of my greatest ideas have come out of being away on vacation.

I think it is the fact that I remove myself from my daily routine, so my brain is able to focus its thought patterns on other, more creative tasks.

I thought I would take the time to share what I consider to be five great tips for getting the most out of a vacation from a productivity point of view:


1 – Ensure You Leave With No Open Loops

Before you go on vacation, I feel that it is imperative that your Open Loops are closed.

What I mean here for those of you new to the term Open Loops is that you have to ensure your mind is free of niggling tasks that must be done before you leave. In the few days leading up to your vacation, it is very important to hone your productivity skills in order to complete the tasks that must be complete.

I like to prioritize the tasks that must be done before I go away and things that can wait. I do a pre-vacation review and get my task system in place with a clear defined list of actions that I must do in order to go away with a clear mind.


2 – Let People Know You Are Away

I always let people who may be needing me in the week I am away know that I am going to be away. This sets their expectations and removes the worry that you will get something to deal with that is urgent whilst you are away.

A very important thing to do is to set your Out Of Office Assistant letting people clearly know that you are away, when you will be back, who they can contact whilst you are away, and what they can do if they need to contact you.

Using a system like AwayFind is a fantastic resource for covering when you are on vacation. I have just changed my regular Out Of Office message to state that I am away on vacation with limited access to email, but they can still send me an urgent message through AwayFind if needed.


3 – Pack a Good Book

I love to read when I am away. I love biographies and anything which will improve my mind and motivate me. I have just finished reading Tycoon by Peter Jones and I am taking with me this time The Real Deal by James Caan. Book reviews will follow for both these books pretty soon.

Books ignite the spark in my brain and help me with my thinking. I normally pick up some little nuggets of inspiration from these books and it is always nice to see how other people made it. I like to read about success, motivation, and also people who are self made entrepreneur millionaires.


4 – Take a Notebook to help you Collect Your Thoughts

As I have wrote about before, when I am on vacation with an empty mind, I get my most creative thoughts. Because of this, and also the fact that I am not in front of my Mac all day it is very important to take a good notebook and pen with you.

I normally pack a couple of Moleskine’s and a few pens to ensure everything is collected. I always have my iPhone but seem to prefer paper based collection when I am away.

It is so important to collect and record these thoughts as soon as they enter your head. Once I return home, I enjoy recording all these into my GTD system to ensure that they are allocated and scheduled for completion when they need to get done.


5 – Enjoy Yourself!

Last but not least, Enjoy yourself!

You work hard, and you deserve a break! Too many times we are at work dreaming about being at home, and then when we are at home we are dreaming about being at work. It is important to utilize the time on vacation to recharge your batteries so you can return to the office energized!



Well, I will enjoy myself and I know I will have some great productive ideas that will be put to good use on my return.

Do you have any little tips and tricks for getting the most out of your vacations? I would love to hear!

Thanks, and have a productive week!

  • 1 Comment... What do you think?
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  1. Chris R. said on February 12th, 2009 at 8:22 am

    I’d add one more tip: stay away from computer and the Internet :)

    I spent my last Christmas vacation wiothout a computer and it really helped me to recharge my batteries and gave me time to think about what I’m doing and what I _should_ do.

    Reply
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