7 Stress-Free Ways to Stay Productive on Vacation

By Mikey Rox on 15 January 2015 1 comment

Vacation is a time to relax and let loose — and you've earned every minute of it. But while it's healthy to slow down every once in a while to enjoy some of life's finer things, taking a much-needed break doesn't give you full credence to be lazy (unless that's what you want, of course; hey, it's your vacation). Fact is, you can still have fun — and stay productive — with bit of concerted effort. Here's how.

1. Tie Up Loose Ends Before Vacation Commences

There's nothing worse than having an open-ended project hanging over your head that you wished you'd have finished before your vacation started. Whatever the reason you didn't complete it — maybe you were rushed, maybe you just didn't feel like bothering with it — your lack of follow-through will nag you for the duration of your holiday, and that's no way to spend what should be an otherwise fun time. Do yourself a favor and be a trooper — work through the night if you have to — to check these tasks off your list so there's one less thing to worry about when it's time to kick your feet up. You'll likely find that with this burden lifted, you'll be more motivated to work leisurely on something else at your own pace — if you'd like.

2. Schedule Small Tasks to Accomplish in Short Bursts

Instead of scheduling large, daunting tasks to complete over vacation — let's use cleaning the house as a blanket goal — try fitting in smaller, more manageable projects into your schedule. For instance, if you have free time one afternoon, tackle cleaning your pantry; the next day clear out your medicine cabinet. By working in short bursts to accomplish small tasks, you'll avoid becoming overwhelmed but still enjoy the feeling of staying somewhat productive.

3. Engage in Activities That Stimulate Your Brain

Studies show that playing games, eating certain foods, and exercising can boost your brainpower, the result of which is a conduit for productivity. If you're feeling a bit sluggish on vacation — like you just want to binge-watch every available season of House of Cards on Netflix instead of getting something worthwhile done — play a videogame, have a piece of chocolate (legit!), or go for a walk to help get you shake off the lazies and spend your time more wisely.

4. Reflect on Positive Things You've Accomplished Recently

When my business is lagging, or I haven't accomplished anything of which I can be proud lately, I like to reflect on some of the positive things that I've done in the recent past to help me remember why I do what I do. If you're in a similar rut on vacation, think back to one of your rockstar moments to help provide a boost of motivation to get moving.

5. Schedule Time to Exercise

There's a direct correlation between exercise and productivity, so it's not a bad idea to schedule time to work out even when you're on vacation. I know, I know — who wants to break a sweat when there are free-flowing frozen margaritas at the pool bar? Very few of us. But I can tell you from experience that when I drag myself to the treadmill and commit to at least 20 minutes of non-stop exercise, my day is immediately much better. I feel healthier, my confidence gets a boost, and I walk away with more energy to do more than just tip a glass back (even though it's not completely off the schedule).

6. Limit Your Food and Drink Indulgences

Speaking of the sweet nectar of delicious drinks that seem to be omnipresent when you're on vacation, it's important to not overdo it. We all know what happens when we drink too much — we get a one-way ticket to Hangover City that sucks the fun right out of our getaway — but overeating also can be a detriment to your productivity. Indulging too much can make us feel nauseous, tired, and bloated — which ultimately will ruin our mood and kill our motivation.

7. Sleep In — But Not Too Long

Getting a good night's rest is critical to staying productive — and having the stamina to keep going — and there's no better time than vacation to catch a few extra Zs. But, mind you, there's a fine line between sleeping in and oversleeping. You want to get enough sleep that you wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the day opposed to rising lethargic and down in the dumps. A good way to handle this is to let yourself sleep one more hour than your normal schedule allows. That's a reasonable amount of time to get in a few more winks without wasting your vacation.

How do you stay productive on vacation? Let us know in the comments below.

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Guest's picture

Point #1 cannot be stressed enough. If you want to truly enjoy your vacation, have all your projects tied up before you leave. There is nothing worse than having your open ended projects and to-do's looming in the back of your mind while laying on the beach!