A vacation without a phone or computer sounds fantastic to some, but impossible. (For others it sounds like a prison sentence.) But if you fall into the first category, fear not! Despite the societal pressure, you do not HAVE to work while on vacation.

After all, vacation is supposed to be relaxing. Since studies have proven the importance of taking time (entirely) away from work, let’s talk about five ways to create a partially electronic-less vacation. Note: we say partially so you can try this the first time. With practice, you might even be able to go gadget free! 


  • Convey to your supervisor (or yourself if you own your own company) the importance of the vacation and the fact that you’ll work very limited hours for emergency situations only.
  • Communicate your upcoming absence to appropriate team members, vendors, and clients. Let them know when you will stop email and phone contact (make it several hours before the actual time so that no one sends a last minute request) as well as when you will return to work. Let the fewest number of people know that you’ll have some accessibility during your time away.
  • Define what constitutes an emergency situation (and what doesn’t).

Plot. Create concrete time blocks for work. Maybe you’ll check email, voicemail, and texts for 30 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night. You’ll only respond to those that are most important. Decide ways to stick to your plan. Will you use timers? Will you ask people who are with you to keep you accountable?

Present. Choose to be present during your vacation. This may mean minimizing your inside clutter. If you have brain chatter that says, “Just think of all the work you’ll have to do when you get back if you don’t do some of it on vacation,” talk back to it: Because I’m taking this vacation, I’ll be refreshed and able to do more work when I return.


  • Put some “white space” in your calendar the day of your return. For instance, block out two to three hours the first morning to get caught up. Don’t schedule any meetings until 11:00 a.m. Work those hours at home or close the door to your office or wear headphones to indicate you’re busy. 
  • Be ready to stand your ground. You can’t possibly catch up on everything in a day. You may need to delegate some work or defer it to next week.

Practice. You’re trying to develop new “vacation habits.” It may not be easy. It may take several vacations before you feel comfortable being “partially electronic-less.” Keep practicing!

You may be thinking, “This all sounds great, but it won’t work for me!” It definitely takes effort, but it’s worth it.

Real Examples of Work-Free Vacations

Let me give you a couple of my own examples:

  • My family goes to the beach for a week every summer. I check emails and voicemails briefly twice a day for limited amounts of time.
  • On a 10-day European river cruise, there was only WiFi when we were docked in a port. This definitely put boundaries on checking email! I was too cheap to change my smartphone plan to an international one, so I never checked voicemail.
  • There was no WiFi for the two weeks I was on safari in Africa. Furthermore, because of extreme luggage weight limits, I didn’t take my laptop, so for the six days I could connect, I couldn’t check work email.

Yet, my business survived these vacations and many others.

If you would like to have a partially electronic-less vacation but you’d like help getting ready, let us know. Minding Your Matters® would love to help you start a new vacation routine!