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Time to take back your vacation time

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Vacation is a time to get away from your job and recharge, but in 2013, the American Psychological Association reported half of American employees checked their email at least once a day during their time off  work. Still, it is possible to get a real break from work.

•  Ease your way into and out of vacation. Work transition time into your plan to take scheduled time off, suggests Maura Thomas, author of “Personal Productivity Secrets.” Change your email away message to say you’ll be leaving a day before you actually are and returning a day later than you are.

•  Establish a protocol for urgent projects. Receiving an urgent work call while on vacation isn’t ideal, but it happens and you should have an idea of how to react if it does, says PeopleResults CEO Patti Johnson. For important projects, ask a colleague to serve as the go-to person for any questions that may arise while you’re out. If a problem comes up that only you can handle, then you can be available for a call.

•  Exercise the discipline it takes to disconnect. Sometimes it’s not a work emergency that keeps you from fully enjoying your time at the beach—it’s you, says David Morken, co-founder and CEO of Bandwidth.

— Adapted from “The Best Time to Ace Work-Life Balance? On Vacation,” Robin Madell, U.S. News & World Report.

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