“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

Completely stepping away from work can be very difficult; we are all guilty of checking our emails and trying to squeeze in a little bit of work during our time off. However, studies show it’s actually extremely beneficial for both work and personal life to set the time aside to completely unplug and unwind. In fact, it’s proven that people who take annual vacations see improvements in productivity, focus, motivation, and overall health. So, how exactly do you make the most out of the time off?

See below for the steps to take to enjoy vacation time:

Before you leave:

Request the time off. The sooner the better. This allows your company to plan for your absence and lets you start the preparations. A great thing about plans is the anticipation and excitement leading up to it, the sooner you decide the when and where the sooner you can to get excited.

Planning. Plan what needs to be accomplished before heading out and what needs to be done when you get back. Write down what you plan to do the week you get back, many people have trouble transitioning right back into work.

Out-of-Office. Tell people when you’ll be out of the office, when you plan to return, and who to contact for anything that may require immediate attention. A great way to do this is to set an out of office automatic message on your email and/or phone. Nothing is worse than feeling ignored by a company.

During the vacation:

Unplug. Set your phone on do not disturb, stop checking your emails, focus on the location, people, food, weather, the here and now…

R&R days. Set time aside to fully relax. Vacations can become stressful if you try to pack too many activities in a short period of time.

No stress allowed. One of the most important factors to enjoying your time off is to not stress. Being overly concerned about seeing every attraction or making sure everyone is enjoying themselves is counterproductive.

Read Summertime Performance Lag to see more tips to increase your productivity.