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Taking a break from email and work doesn’t start with turning your out-of-office on. Up to 54% of employees are not taking all of their allotted vacation time (imagine the time business owners aren’t taking without the structure of vacation time). If taking our vacation time is the first hurdle, then implementing boundaries to not check our email or other on-the-go access we have to our businesses or job is the second hurdle. 47% of working adults say they don’t check email on vacation, which means 53% are checking their email. If the majority of people can’t resist checking email when they’ve supposedly logged off we’re not taking unplugged vacations.

Time away from our businesses, work, and work-related communication significantly reduces stress, increases our productivity and focus, allows us to connect with family and friends, and leads to a natural, varied heart rate (as opposed to a high alert constant heart rate). Since most of us can agree we want work-life balance, and if it’s also good for our mental and physical health, we should be implementing strategies to truly take a break.

Here are tips to help you hit pause and disconnect from work on your time off:

Inbox Pause

If you can’t resist checking your email after hours, on weekends, or once your out-of-office is on, use inbox pause. Boomerang offers this for both Outlook and Gmail. If you check your email out of habit, boredom, or FOMO there won’t be any new emails to tempt you to respond or cause any stress. Let technology help you take a break from email.

Instant Message (Slack) Pause

Slack is a popular instant messaging communication tool used by small business owners with their teams and clients, as well as used by large companies. Since you can access Slack on a desktop and through apps on your phone, they allow you to easily pause notifications.

Turn Off Push Notifications

Whether it’s email, social media apps, or work apps your push notifications should be turned off. This prevents you from being distracted and pulled back into work and / or your business. Personally, the only push notifications I have turned on are text messages (if you know my phone number), phone calls, and my home alarm system.

Summary Taking a Break from Email and Work

We all love a vacation, staycation and / or Netflix and Chill-cation and we know unplugging from our businesses and work is good for us. Whether you’re a business owner, consultant, or employee I want you to know you are capable of creating these boundaries to enjoy and benefit from unplugged time away from work. You can implement any and all of these changes today to take a break from email and work so you can be present and unplug on your next vacation.