How this workaholic took a vacation (without her laptop!)!

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 Any other workaholics out there? Then this is for you! I’m steering away from speaking specifically about digital products today to make a confession. I recently took a vacation… and I didn’t take my laptop. (Gasp!!) And guess what!? I didn’t miss it at all!! If you had told me this even 6 months ago, I would have laughed at you! But I did it. And it was SO good. 

So today I’m sharing it all with you! -How it went -What worked for me -And some tips on how to unplug from YOUR business, too. (And yes, it’s possible to do this successfully! Promise!) I’m here to encourage you, from one workaholic to another, so you can do it, too.


When you are planning to take a vacation from your business, you need to over communicate: with your clients, your team and you need to have some over communication in place when you are gone!!

So let’s talk about those 3 areas.

  1. I made sure all of my clients were made aware that I was heading out on vacation about one week before I actually left. I sent messages out to all of my clients letting them know of my time out of the office.

For my specific brand, I was essentially just telling them that they would be leaning on their project managers while I was away. They are already very plugged in with our project managers so I was just reassuring them that we shouldn’t have any delays in their project plans and their project managers would be the main point of contact. If they reached out to me, I would not be responding during that time away. 

Now, for some of you, if you don’t have a team and you’re working 1-on-1 with your clients, you can still set that expectation with your clients that you’re going away on vacation and these are your parameters. You can let them know the things that are needed of them before you leave in order to stay on task and on schedule. 

That is really important and allows for that customer to feel very, very cared for in the fact that you’re still on top of due dates and deadlines. You’re just stepping away. 

  1. I also over communicated with my team. On my team, I do have my project managers and they were essentially sending me a punch list of things that they needed for me prior to my time away. 

So the week before I left, I had a set of to-do’s from all of my project managers. I knew the things that I needed to tackle and give to them before I left so that they could carry on happily, and due dates could still be met. Then they would be able to move forward on all of our projects while I was gone. 

So for those of you that do have a team, you can instill something similar. You can set expectations ahead of time letting them know you’re about to head out of town, ask what they need from you so that you are not the bottleneck on the project, and over communicate with them so that wires don’t get crossed.

  1. You also want to make sure that you’re over communicating while you are away. For me, that looked like setting up a vacation status in Slack since that’s what we use with all of our clients. I put myself in vacation mode and I learned that you can schedule that, so I turned it on when I was taking off and I scheduled it to turn off the morning that I was stepping back into the office. 

If you aren’t using something like Slack, maybe you’re strictly relying on your inbox, you can set up your out-of-office that sets up those expectations. 

Something that I enjoyed so much with my time away this time was knowing that my executive assistant, Emily, was in my inbox and still filtering through all of my messages while I was gone. So we actually didn’t set up our team out of office – I kept her in the inbox. 

As usual, she was just responding to people and telling them I was out of town and I’d be back on X day. She was manually setting that expectation with clients, or with potential inquiries and things like that. 

So if you do have an assistant and somebody who is checking your inbox on a regular basis, let him or her keep going. Don’t cease work while you’re gone, because it’s just going to pile up!! I loved the fact that she was continuing to be that touch point. That way, too, when I got back my inbox to-do’s were so minimal because she had already gone through and responded to things that I didn’t even need to see. Then I had my own little list of emails to step into when I got back. 

If you do have a team, and therefore somebody in your inbox, don’t feel like that needs to stop because you’re not around, they can just over communicate with whoever they are emailing, if they’re not able to like answer that question, or troubleshoot something while they’re waiting for you. Otherwise you have an out-of-office up and then have 100+ emails to sort back through when you get back, which no one likes!


So when we were at the airport, the morning of, I rearranged all of the apps on my phone. I know that sounds crazy, but at 5:30am, I’m sitting at the American Airlines gate, and I rearranged all of the apps on my phone. 

Here’s why I did this.

For one, I did not want to have to delete certain apps. I didn’t want to delete Gmail or Slack or Trello because I am so plugged into so many different businesses and having to reinstall the app and log into everything all over again was overwhelming.

Now maybe that wouldn’t have happened. Maybe you guys are a little bit more tech savvy than me and you’re like, No Kat, you would have been fine. But I was nervous. 

So I decided that instead of completely deleting those things, and because I don’t trust myself to just turn off the notifications or set them on Do Not Disturb, I need to actually hide them. 

Because let’s face it, we grab our phone and instinctively our thumb knows where to go. It’s just natural but I wanted to get away from that habit. 

So I decided to just rearrange everything. 

I ended up actually deleting a whole bunch of apps that I didn’t even need anymore anyway in that rearrangement process, which was an extra little bonus, but in rearranging where those apps were located on my phone, I didn’t even know where to click! I couldn’t even remember where I moved them. 

It was a great little extra accountability for myself, when I’m subconsciously going to click a work app to say, “Oh, nope, wait, let’s pause, I don’t actually need to open up that app right now.” 

It really, really helped me!! 


Another thing that I did is I kept a note on my phone where I could park any random thought about the business that popped into my brain. Let’s face it, you guys, I am a workaholic. I’m just going to own that – it’s not necessarily a good thing!! But it is a trait of mine. I work very hard, and work tends to suck a lot of my time and of my energy. 

Again, there’s great reasons for that… and there are also unhealthy reasons. Those are things that I’ve battled in my entire 11 years of entrepreneurship. 

So I am not going to sit here and tell you: Go on vacation and just don’t think about it! Just stop thinking about work.

That has never worked for me. I’ve never been able to 100% turn off my brain. I love what I do. I love this business!!

It’s actually sometimes in the clarity of not being in my office staring at my computer – when I’m actually out walking around on the beach or just sitting on an airplane in silence – that my brain starts to go. I start to get creative again and I have the mental space to actually dream and think about some of the things that I’m doing in the business!!

So I didn’t want to stop myself from doing that because I’ve tried to do that before and it did not work.

So this time around, I created a note on my phone called KS Brand and anything that popped up on vacation, even if I had a quick question about a client project, I would open up that note, type it in and park it there.

Work thoughts got out of my brain, and I put them somewhere. 

So maybe there was something relevant where I needed to check on something from a project manager – I had a spot for it. 

I also had a spot for dreams. When I left for my vacation we were in the process of updating the website. So on the airplane, I was actually thinking about things to add on different pages and as those thoughts were coming in, I was allowing myself to write them down. 

It’s okay to allow yourself to think about your business and to express all of those thoughts that are coming. I just didn’t want it to consume my thoughts. 

I didn’t want to pull out my laptop and actually start working on those things – I needed a break. 

So I had a note on my phone as my little parking lot where I could open it up, drop in the random things, whether it was client faced or for my brand itself, and park them there. Then on my first day back from vacation, I opened up that note and I had a list with some dreams and new ideas that I could drop into my little Trello idea list. I had some things in Slack that I could then take and mobilize the team of some certain client projects I had popped up while I was gone. 

But overall, I gave myself the space to drop them somewhere and then forget about them for the rest of the trip. That was something brand new – I could have never done that before and I loved it!! It worked so well for me and it’s absolutely something that I am going to implement in the future when we take more vacations as a family, even for a long weekend. 

I also think it could be helpful for those of you, aka myself, who struggle sometimes in the evenings. After the kids go to bed, I will struggle with just sitting and instead of reading this book, realizing I could just open my laptop and work for another hour. 

And as I often say, there is a time and a place for hustle. Sometimes you’re in a season and that is the season for you. Sometimes though, I use hustle as an excuse, and I open up my laptop when I don’t really need to do it right then instead of resting that night, reading that book, or watching the sitcom.

So I’ve actually since I’ve been home had that note on my phone still and if I think about something at night, I’ll just drop it in the note real quick. 

I’m not digging into Slack and Trello and then getting distracted by all the other business things… because that always happens. Instead, I have another little spot to park those things in the evenings if I’m not planning for it to be a work night. 


One that I decided to do this time around, that I hadn’t ever given myself permission to do before, was to ease back into work. So instead of taking off and then jumping back in that Monday morning, with all the things, I let Monday be a slow day.

I gave myself permission to sit down, go over all of my Slack messages, and then leave my computer, put in the load of laundry that needed to be done, check in on the supplies and the kids bathroom, and then jump back over to work. And then I responded to the inbox. And then I responded to client stuff.

It was this really great slow day of getting those maintenance work things done that I needed to respond to, but also getting to check in on my home, catch up on laundry, and do all of the other life things that fall by the wayside when you’re on vacation. 

Because that’s the truth of it… when we go on vacation, sometimes we need a vacation from the vacation, right? If you’re vacationing with kids, you probably need a vacation from vacation, because you come back from vacation, after having so much fun, but also completely exhausted because you just spent however many days chasing your kids around, right?

Or if you’re in the situation like I was just in and I was on the most relaxing vacation of my life – it was amazing, it was so wonderful – but I stepped back from vacation and the laundry got piled up and Matt needed to do things in the kitchen and the yard. There were so many things that happened in our home while we were gone!

But, I also had so many business things that piled up. I gave myself the permission to spend that Monday as a very slow workday, stepping back into work and allowing myself to check in on all of the work things but also catch up on all of the house things. 

It was so wonderful and I absolutely should have been doing that from the get go instead of trying to compartmentalize and say “Nope, this is business time, and I’m only doing business,” or “Nope, this is house time, and I’m only doing house things!” 

It was really nice for my brain to feel like I could multitask. I could be very productive, throwing in a load of laundry and then responding to those emails and having a true get-it-all-done day, but in a very relaxing way. 


So those were a couple of the things that I did you guys again, from one workaholic to the to another. Or maybe not another… but I’m assuming you guys have some workaholic tendencies out there. (I feel like a lot of small business owners have some workaholic tendencies based on this season of our brands!!)

Here’s a little recap of my tips for you – how you can unplug from work on your on vacation!

  1. Over communicate! With your clients, your team, and even while you’re gone.
  2. Rearrange the apps on your phone. You don’t need to delete all your work apps, but hide them and watch how it retrains your brain to take a break.
  3. Create an app on your phone for ideas or relevant matters to tackle when you’re back! You don’t need to totally shut it off – but give yourself a space to write it down in the clarity of your vacation and then circle back when you’re working again.
  4. Ease back into work. Tackle what you need to, slowly, while also recovering from vacation at home. 

I hope this is helpful to you and allows you to enjoy time away, just like I did! 

There really is  a season for the hustle and a season for the busy… and there’s also a season for rest and a season to step away and really get to relish in all of the fruit of your business!

Getting the mental clarity and the mental space to enjoy the life you have, thanks to your business, is a huge reminder of why we do this in the first place.

For me, I do this so that I do have the freedom to jet off with my husband for a long weekend, or to take off Mondays during the summer so I can have a mommy and kids day. 

Those are the types of things that are truly important and when I’m old, I’m gonna look back and I want to know that I spent time with the people around me. 

So I just want to end by encouraging you – take some time off this summer!! Close that laptop. Step away. Your brand will not fall apart in a long weekend, a week, a two-week vacay. Whatever the time is that you step away.

I can promise you that your entire brand will not fall apart in that time-frame… and you’ll probably come back even more excited and rejuvenated for what’s ahead for your business.

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