The holiday season is here! This means we finally get some much needed time off. Tis' the season for enjoying the company of your closest friends and family – or at least that’s what we intend. However, it has become harder and harder to escape from distraction; from social media, to work emails, to news and media outlets. Before you know it, you've wasted your vacation on the very things you wanted a break from. We lose sight of what time off is supposed to mean and fail to soak up what really matters - connections and conversations with the people around us! So without further ado, we’ve put together some tips and tricks that will help you cut ties with the outside world and really maximize your time off. Happy Holidays!
Delete the apps that you check most often. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, whatever your go-to app is, delete it. You can always download it again later. Invest in some face-time with the people around you.
Disable your work emails. We know this one is hard and probably unrealistic depending on your profession, but still, we know not everyone needs to have access to work email while on vacation. After all, what is the point of taking a vacation if you have to respond to work emails? If you do open an email, you'll feel obligated to respond to it. If you don’t respond to it, you’ll still be thinking about it. To avoid either from happening, set an auto-response ahead of time to let anyone who emails you during your vacation know that you will reply when you are back in the office. After this is done, disable it!
Turn off your phone and put it in a different room. You know the saying: Out of sight, out of mind. Now, if your phone is like an appendage to you, this saying may not apply. In fact, the sheer thought of being away from it may insight a miniature panic attack for some. If this is the case, then you should feel extra incentive to unplug. Turn off your phone and put it in another room. Resist the urge to check it by engaging with your friends and family.
Leave your work computer at work. Just like we said to disable your work email, here's a good follow up: Do not bring your work computer home. Doing so is just asking to be distracted. If you really intend to take a vacation, then you should have no need for your work computer. You can feel less guilty about this if you plan and prepare ahead of time. Work hard the week prior to your vacation to notify the proper people and get all needed tasks done so that the work that does accrue over your time off is minimal and manageable.
Turn off the TV. Watching a movie together as a family can be nice, but it is also just another reason to not talk to each other. Try to find something to do with your friends and family that doesn’t require an outlet and/or internet connection. Play a board game or go for a walk.
Make a game of it! Going out to eat? Or maybe you’re sitting down for a holiday feast? Ask guests to put their phones in the center of the table. The first person to touch their phone has to pick up the tab or has to do dishes. That in itself should be enough motivation to unplug.
Leave your charger at home. Most smartphones have a short battery life, especially if you use it frequently. Use this to your advantage, it can actually help to keep you in check. When your battery dies for the day, don’t plug it in. In fact leave your charger out of reach. If the phone dies, you've used up your 'daily phone time' budget. This may help you to only check your phone periodically to reduce the chance of running your battery down on Facebook or Snapchat.