How to deal with work vs. family priorities during your vacation.

“Vacation time is not just a nice to have, it’s a must to sustain workers’ health and well-being”. Professionals who can turn off the demands of work – even for short periods of time – will be more engaged and more productive in the long run.”

(Korn Ferry, 2018)


Seems that for many of us as soon as you plan our vacation, there is a new emergency at work that needs your full attention. Today’s advances in technology make our lives easier, but at the same time increase the challenges that we face on a daily basis.

For modern workers it seems that is becoming almost impossible to completely disconnect or even partially separate your work from your family priorities, and that is starting to seriously impact our lives. When we look at it we can recognize that both are important and that in our society, and that very few people even have an option to be able to choose between one and the other.


According to a recent study by Korn Ferry, 54% of people have gotten into an argument with their spouse or significant other about working too much during their vacation. In addition, 65% cut short their vacation time because of a work priority


The reality is that both, work and family priorities need to be balanced if we truly want to succeed in life. Being successful at work does not necessarily mean that you will fail at home, nor being successful at home means that automatically you will be successful at work. Still many extremely successful executives have found that some of the skills that makes them extremely successful on their careers, can be also be used to make them successful at home if they learn how to apply them there as well (Heston LICSW, 2019).


Getting ready for a vacation does not just means reminding the boss you’ll be gone, leaving detailed documentation of who is covering what and emailing around your in-case-of-emergency contact information — although those are all good ideas. It does means that in addition to that, you must prepare yourself to let go of work and focus on your family (Klein, 2013).

Here are some steps that you can take to get mentally ready for your vacation time:

  • Don’t stress about leaving things at work: Remember that no matter how much work you do before you go out on vacation, there will still be more when you come back. “Focus and prioritize those tasks that do have a deadline while you’re gone,” he says, and put the non-pressing items — like organizing your papers — on the back burner.


  • Don’t make yourself too reachable: When describing your plans, keep it vague with a casual promise to check in from time to time. “The more that we check our email and respond to phone calls, the more they will rely on you instead of trying to figure it out as you do when “they” are on vacation.


  • Practice being on vacation: Once you’ve announced you’ll only be available from time to time during your days off, practice being out of touch while you’re still on the clock. Turn your phone off before bed or step away from your desk for an afternoon walk to show your brain what the next few days will be like.


  • Set and Level expectations: “Be fully present and enjoy the moment for what it is”. It is not about becoming a champion surfer on a week, it’s mainly about focusing on what is important for you and your family.


  • Remind yourself this is a vacation: “This is not just an extension of your work from a different location.” You earned these hours off for a reason — without them, you’re bound to burn out.


  • Do a little something differently with your phone: Experts encourage workers to disconnect as much as possible. “Turn off the ring but know that you can check it in a few hours.” “If you’re worrying about what you’re missing, you’re missing the moment.”


  • Schedule an activity: Suddenly having very little to do may be stressful for some people. For that reason, experts recommend to schedule some activities, but keep it flexible. Is not a competition


  • Remind yourself everything is fine: If you’ve done a good job to delegate and met any deadlines before you left, go ahead and set that boundary. And if you’ve documented what you’ve delegated, you’ve proved how essential you are, since you are responsible for making your time off run so smoothly




  • Jorge Mastrapa Ph.D. (2017). Relationship Discovery Report. Retrieved from
  • Klare Heston LICSW. (2019, May 7). How to Balance Work and Family (with Pictures) – wikiHow. Retrieved July 2, 2019, from
  • Korn Ferry. (2018, November 8). Worried Workers. Retrieved July 2, 2019, from
  • Korn Ferry. (2019, May 22). Unplug Already. Retrieved July 2, 2019, from
  • Sarah Klein. (2013, July 2). How To Prepare Yourself For The Perfect, Stress-Free Vacation | HuffPost Life. Retrieved July 2, 2019, from