How do you stay productive and engaged when you’re on vacation?

What a great question!


Here’s what not to do:

  • Sleep in until noon every day.
  • Be on the phone most of the day.
  • Watch TV until the early hours of the morning.

That would be such a waste!

Treat the extra time you have as a gift: be grateful for it, enjoy it, make the most of it.

So what does that look like?

Use some (or all!) of these ideas to make this vacation a different, better, and more productive one.

Make a vacation plan.

  • First, consider how much time you have: one week, a month, or just 5 days? Write down the actual number of days at your disposal.
  • Next, write down a list of the top 5–10 things you’ve been wanting to do all year but didn’t get around to doing, or just barely started doing. These should not be things you’ve been putting off, such as chores. They should be activities that you enjoy doing, that are important for your personal development, or that you’ve been thinking about doing for a long time.
  • Finally, circle the top 3–5 things that are the most important to you. Here’s where you get to practice your prioritizing skills. Which items on the list do you believe you would regret not doing on the last day of your vacation? Which are the things you know right now you will not have time for later? Those should make your final list.

Schedule your vacation.

  • In a notebook, devote one page for each day of your vacation. Write the day on top of the page. Then divide up the page into 3 sections: for morning (until noon or 1, when you have lunch), afternoon (1–6 p.m.), and evening (6 p.m. to bedtime).
  • Block off times for your meals and when you need to tend to any responsibilities, if you have them (running errands, for example).
  • For each day, block off one hour in the afternoon and write “JUST ME!” in that time slot. This will be the time for – you guessed it – just you. Use it as you wish: sit outside in the sun, lie on the floor listening to music, or look out the window with a cup of coffee in hand and observe the world. Let this time be the space for free thinking, daydreaming, or just breathing.
  • Then, go back to your list of 3–5 most important things, then schedule them in so you are doing a little of each every day. How much? Select the time that works best for you, but keep it to 1–2 hour blocks of time. For example, if you want to start (or continue) learning a foreign language, you’ll need a continuous block of time to cover one chapter, which might take 90 minutes.

Max out your mornings.

Get smarter about entertainment.


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