life work balance

Tips for Keeping Work from Sabotaging Your Family Vacation

Tips for keeping work from taking over your vacation so that you can focus on the people that matter.

Tips for keeping work from taking over your vacation so that you can focus on the people that matter.

Sure, you’re researching hotels and restaurants and what attractions you want to experience on vacation but did you know that a really important part of vacation planning is figuring out how to manage work when you’re away from work? A recent study found that half of all couples argue about how much time one spouse or partner spends attending to work while on vacation and it isn’t just adults that get upset – the kids notice when you’re with them, but not really with them too.  

“How many of us have seen parents standing in an amusement park line reading their email instead of connecting with their kids and spouse? Taking time to make the break from work and enjoy experiences with friends and family makes for professionals who are healthier, happier and more engaged upon their return.”

We know we should take vacations and our family probably even needs a vacation but we find leaving work at work hard to do.  Here are a few vacation statistics from a professional study by Korn Ferry:

  • 88% of study participants have cut short or cancelled vacation due to work pressures.

  • 34% connect with work multiple times a day while on vacation

  • Only 3% did not check in with the office while on vacation

  • 52% did not plan on using all of their vacation time for the year

This is an important thing to think through because daily life is demanding and vacations are important time set aside to strengthen relationships and to build memories through shared experiences. Unfortunately, spending too much time checking on work matters has the potential to really undermine that goal.  HomeAway partnered with researchers at the University of Texas on a study to determine what factors affect the memorability of vacations and they found that spending too much time spent working on vacation affects your ability to remember the trip later:

Working while traveling decreases trip memorability. Those who work while on vacation are less likely to recall all of their memorable events than those not working. This effect increases as vacationers spend more time working. Of those who used devices for work-related activities, just 43% who spent one hour or more working recalled all trip events, while 60% of those who spent less than an hour working recalled all events. Overall, working an hour or more on vacation made participants 43% more likely to have trouble remembering their trips than those who worked one hour or less. Those who used laptops, versus smart phones or tablets, also had significantly more trouble remembering their vacations.”   

Take a minute to let this really sink in because you would probably say that your spouse and children are a major motivation for doing well at your job – you want to provide the things your family needs to thrive, not just survive.  You probably already agree that, when you set aside time to spend with them, you need to be present in that moment to focus on those relationships and experiences. It can be challenging to keep the means of experiencing a good life from becoming something that ultimately detracts from a life lived well but here are a few tips from Sunset magazine to help:

1)  Set some boundaries and rules before heading on vacation that will allow you stay on top of work without neglecting your travel partner.

2) Before heading out on vacation, touch base with coworkers and establish a set time when you will be available for emergencies only. It shouldn’t need to be any more than 15 minutes per day.

3)  If you have circumstances that absolutely cannot wait until you get back to the office, you can use this time to let the kids interact with their screens before coming back to each other. This can help minimize resentment from family members feeling like they’re in a holding pattern while you are attending to those things.  Then make a commitment as a family or a couple to put the outside world aside while you spend some time doing things together.

4)  It becomes much easier to stick to screen limits by turning off push notifications from emails and work apps like Slack or Trello. Hardcore digital detoxers can even put their phone on airplane mode to eliminate temptations.

5)  The final step in cutting down work time is remembering to set an out-of-office message before heading out. This email can simultaneously refer inquiries to someone in the office, warn coworkers that you’re off the grid, and make everybody back home jealous.  Click here for out of office message writing tips.

Don't get overwhelmed by the details - let us help!

Vacation planning is always a lot easier when you have one of our travel agents on your side because we specialize in Disney and Universal Orlando vacation destinations and we can help you manage things like crowds, park hours, entertainment schedules, and dining options.  It can be a lot to think through but Imagine how much better your vacation will be when we:

  • Give you a "Best Days" itinerary that puts you in the best theme park for each day of your trip

  • Book dining reservation on your behalf (subject to availability) at times that don't interfere with parades and fireworks

  • Give you excellent theme park touring plans that keep lines to an absolute minimum.

You get all of this expert service at no extra charge when you book your Disney vacation through Build A Better Mouse TripClick here for more information.

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