The productive vacation checklist

A trip to the tropics. An urban getaway. An escape to the cottage. Or a staycation in your hometown.

No matter how you spend your vacation time, it’s important to step away from the daily grind to refresh, recharge and reset. I just got back from a trip to Mexico so I totally understand the great feeling that comes from living life beyond the laptop.

The benefits of vacations are well-documented. They can positively impact our happiness, health, and even our productivity. How?

– Brain structure can be altered by chronic exposure to stress hormones, which can lead to depression and anxiety. Research shows that women who don’t take regular vacations are three times more likely to be depressed and anxious.

– Long-term studies have shown that vacations can reduce the risk of heart disease. The 2010 Framingham Heart Study revealed that women who vacation regularly are 50 per cent less likely to die from a heart attack, while men who vacation regularly are 32 per cent less likely (sorry guys!).

– Stress can negatively impact focus. Removing yourself from a stressful situation (like work) can result in an improved ability to focus and concentrate.

After reading all that, I’m sure you’ve already opened up another browser tab to search travel deals!

Images of vacation scenes

But before you pack your bags, read my checklist for reigniting your productivity while you’re on vacation:

✔️ 1. ABC – Always be collecting: If you have social media channels, a blog, a website, or if you create, write or design content in other ways, a trip can inspire ideas. Photos from events, beautiful scenery, and even selfies, along with things you find out from meeting new people or seeing new places, can be used in content down the road.

✔️ 2. Get active: Although lying by the pool drinking margaritas is an ideal vacation for many of us, being active can actually help you come home physically and mentally refreshed. Get moving to increase your energy and fight fatigue. Exercise also helps you feel alert and deal with stress better.

✔️ 3. Look, listen and learn: Reading is definitely relaxing, and reading non-fiction can broaden your horizons new ways. Books are great, but if you have your hands full with little ones or if you’re walking or hiking, consider other options. Audiobooks and podcasts are hands-free, or blog posts tend to be shorter reads. On my recent trip, I re-listened to Rachel Hollis’ Girl Wash Your Face audiobook, caught up on James Wedmore’s Mind Your Business podcast, and read Garth Turner’s Greater Fool blog.

✔️ 4. Unplug: Leave your phone in the hotel room for a day or two. I did this in Mexico and it felt awesome! That’s probably because unplugging from the internet has been shown to improve quality of life, sleep and relationships – exactly what we often want to improve on vacation. Since I know using a smartphone is unavoidable, I brought my old, back-up iPhone with me to take photos, look up maps and listen to music. It’s no longer logged-in to my email or social media accounts to avoid the temptation of going online.

How else can you kick-start your productivity while on vacation? Share in the comments.

Bon voyage!

Image credits: Laine Bodnar.

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