Planning a vacation? Don’t forget to pack your routine

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If you’re planning a vacation, strike the delicate balance between letting go of some routines and depending on others….

By Ann Gomez

Where I live, summer is on the horizon and many of us are now thinking about vacation plans. And as much as I welcome the reprieve of a more relaxed calendar with fewer commitments, I find this is when my schedules —at work and home — can go a bit off the rails.

At times like this, it becomes even more important to lean into our routines.

There are many benefits to building and keeping a routine. Our routines keep us grounded. We all know what we have to do – and our long lists can be overwhelming.

Routines reduce decision fatigue and help us plan when we’ll be able to tackle certain tasks. Routines diminish our stress and ensure we make every minute count by blocking time for our top priorities, as well as recovery time, including breaks and vacations.

Yet, as much as I believe in the power of routine, I’ve been known to toss aside my routine entirely on weekends and vacations or staycations. And although routines are easily picked up again by design, there are compelling reasons to pack up your routine (or at least some of it) when you go on vacation.

Laura Vanderkam, author of the book What the Most Successful People Do says we should use weekends (and likewise, vacations) as the recharge we need to succeed. “You need to hit Monday ready to go,” she says. “To do that, you need weekends that rejuvenate you, rather than exhaust or disappoint you.”

Returning to work exhausted after a break makes the break itself useless. On that note, here’s how I plan to pack some key elements of my routine into my own summer vacation.

  1. Stick to a sleep routine including a regular bedtime and avoid blue light before bed. This will ensure I’ll return well rested, motivated, and rejuvenated. This is important to help our kids settle back in and feel their best, too.
  2. Make time for some form of daily exercise, whether it’s a hike, a bike ride, a game of tennis, or a refreshing nature walk, instead of hitting the gym.
  3. Eat well and at regular intervals to help fuel my body and mind, so I return with a fresh and creative perspective, ready to tackle exciting new projects and take on challenges.

There will always be exceptions to our daily routine, whether at home or away. And there should be! We need to make space in life to explore new things and simply be spontaneous. This is not a science and life is full of curveballs, after all. But when we attempt to build and stick to a daily routine most of the time, we are better equipped to use our time wisely, so we can do our best work and live our best life.

For more strategies you can use to set yourself up for success, see Ann’s latest book, Workday Warrior: A Proven Path to Reclaiming Your Time, published by Dundurn Press, 2022.




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