How to Take a Vacation Without Feeling Guilty

beach clothes


It’s summer!  Time to hit the beach (or at least the pool) and enjoy some time away from the office.  That sounds great, but there’s a slight problem: We tend to head out with family and friends, only to arrive at the vacation spot seeking out the Wi-Fi and worrying about what’s going on at work.  So, how can you truly take a vacation without including guilt on your packing list?  Here are a few tips:


This is the chance for your strongest team members to really shine.  Delegate responsibility for specific areas in your absence.  Provide clear expectations and boundaries for the authority you’re giving them.  Let them know under what circumstances they need to contact you for guidance vs. what you’re authorizing them to handle on your behalf.

Tackle your inbox(es)

We tend to check email while on vacation with the excuse that we don’t want to come back to hundreds of emails.  If you clean out your inbox before you leave, at least you’ll only have new items to process.  The same thing goes for your paper inbox.  Deal with the paperwork before you leave.

Schedule the first week back

Before you leave, go ahead and plan your first week back in the office.  Block off the first day to process email and paperwork.  The rest of the week should include time to catch-up with your team members, key meetings and processing the ideas you had while on vacation (which leads to the next tip).

Take notes

When I have some downtime, I have more opportunities to reflect and think.  This usually leads to some really great ideas of things to do at the office.  Fresh ideas are great, but you don’t want to get sucked into thinking too much about work.  Instead of following the rabbit trail, jot down your ideas so you won’t forget them later and then get back to vacation.

Be humble

Your contributions are certainly important, but they’ll survive for a week or so without you.  If they can’t, then you haven’t hired or cultivated a strong team and that has to change for your organization to grow.  (Ouch, I know, but I’m trying to help you out here!)

Remember what’s most important

Your kids won’t be kids for long.  Your spouse is your partner in life and deserves your undivided attention.  Enjoy time with your family and friends.  Relax; relish the laughter and yes, even the sibling rivalries.

Unplug and disconnect from technology

Take lots of pictures and don’t even mess with posting them on Instagram.  Put down the phone, uninstall social media apps from your devices and block out the world for a few days as you fully engage with your loved ones.


Vacations are great for you and for your family.   Even us Type-A overachievers can justify a vacation because we come back rested and more productive at the office.  So take that vacation and have fun – completely guilt free!