5 Ways to Not Work on Your Day Off

We’ve all been there.

Whether its a 3-day weekend or a planned vacation, so many of us have trouble taking a break from work when we have time off.

When you have the opportunity to take a break from work, it can sometimes be tough to actually spend the time, ya know, not working.

You many feel the urge to check your email, take that call or knock off a couple of things on your work to-do list. When you work a lot, sometimes turning off your “work mode” can be challenging.


We talk a lot about how self-care isn’t selfish and how we can sometimes feel guilty for taking care of ourselves. These feelings of selfishness and guilt can show up when it time for us to take some time off. But taking some space from constantly working is an important part of taking care of yourself — in fact, it is an essential part of preventing burn out.

So here are 5 ideas to help you truly enjoy the time that you have off, and not feel guilty about it:

  1. Schedule and plan for your day off ahead of time.

When it comes to taking time off from work, give yourself plenty of notice. Plan ahead to take a break from work so you can properly adjust your schedule, your appointments and your meetings accordingly.

Sometimes what can prevent you from resting from work is that even the thought of interrupting your busy schedule increases your feelings of stress. Giving yourself time to plan in advance gives you a little bit more control on when you can relax and gives you something to look forward to down the line.pexels-photo-768473

Take it a step further by planning a couple of fun and/or relaxing things for you to do on this day off. Set up a date with a friend, sign up for a interesting class or workshop, or schedule a therapy session or beauty treatment. Create your ideal day off so you feel motivated to stick to it.

Need some self-care ideas for your day off? Check out this blog or this blog to create your ideal day off.

2. Clearly communicate with others that you’re taking some time off.

Stay accountable to yourself and properly set boundaries by letting folks know that you’re taking a break. If you share a calendar with your colleagues, put your day off on the calendar. Mention to your coworkers that you will be unavailable in a couple weeks. Put up your email away message and set your voicemail message to let others know that you will be out of the office.

Communicating that you will be away prepares others to continue working knowing that you will be temporarily unavailable. Letting folks know how (or if) they can reach you can decrease the chance of you having to work during your time off. pexels-photo-4065624

3. Limit your access to work.

This needs to be said — in order for you to take a full break, you may need to limit the temptation to work. If you can, remove your email, Slack and Zoom apps off of your phone and tablet. Utilize your “Do Not Disturb” features on your phone. Put away your work documents and clean your work space.

Try your best to (temporarily) remove your work tools from within reach. They will be waiting for you when you return.

4. Keep a “work to-do” list handy when you feel anxious.

Even after you’ve planned for this day, communicated with others and limited your access to working, you may feel anxious or pressured get back to work. This can happen if you are incredibly busy (or if you weren’t able to plan your day off during a time when work wasn’t busy.)

Instead of diving right back into work on your day off, keep a running “work to-do” list handy for you to write down what it is that you need to do when you return to the office. Sometimes, just writing down important tasks helps calm our feelings of anxiety and gives us a sense of control. By writing down your tasks (and not going straight to work) you are still honoring your day off and staying accountable to not working.

Not sure how to organize your tasks? Read this blog all about how to differentiate between which tasks are urgent and/or important.pexels-photo-2908175

5. Go ahead a plan for your next day off.

Yup, when your planned time off comes to an end, open up your calendar and repeat steps 1-4. Make it a healthy habit to consistently treat yourself to some must deserved time off on a regular basis.

What helps you not work during your time off?

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