We’re all guilty of it. No matter how hard we try, keeping work outside of personal life and vice versa is challenging. I’ve disagreed with many professionals who argue that quickly keeping an eye on email while they’re away makes the first day back in the office less stressful. Understandable, yes, but what happened to enjoying vacations? What about the experience missed because of this habit? Don’t sacrifice your ME time for work, it isn’t meant for that.

This year was full of travel opportunities for me. I’ve learned one thing; unplugging while on vacation isn’t an option, it’s a necessity. It did help that I was in Europe and didn’t want to drain my bank account paying for international charges (and at Mardi Gras where it was too loud to hear), but I wanted to enjoy each culture and relax.

Here are five tips for an unplugged vacation from Ragan:

1. Start communicating months in advance- Plan vacations ahead of time and tell everyone when you book it. Set expectations with clients, work internally to prepare and keep the dates front and center. If you’re a solo entrepreneur and there is time to plan ahead, you'll be surprised how willing clients are to let you have time off. If you don't get paid unless you work, start working some extra hours to build up your vacation fund.

2. Train someone to take your spot- We all need someone to fill our spot. This gives you the peace of mind you need to fully be on vacation. No one will mind helping you out, because they know you'll be there when it's their turn.

3. Allow re-entry time when you get home- It allows you to reconnect with your team, get through emails and actually do some work. If your vacation begins as soon as you finish working on Friday and lasts until midnight on Sunday, you won't have time to decompress.

4. Turn email off completely- For Android users, just turn off or uncheck the “Auto Sync” feature on your phone. IPhone users have it easy as well, just switch the mail icon to "off" in your settings.

5. Don't answer your phone- Because I’m trusting that you followed steps one and two, you likely won't get any phone calls. If you do, don't answer them. It's unlikely there is a true emergency (someone probably just forgot you're out). If there truly is an emergency, the person will leave you a message and you can quickly return the call.

Just remember that these tips are easy and keep your life and work balance in check. As we head into Labor Day weekend remember them and enjoy the time you have now because you won’t get it back.

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