Nothing kills a vacation faster than obsessing about the work you left behind. Next time you're OOO, try these real-world hacks for leaving the office at the office. 

By Jane Porter
Andrea Mongia

I used to be distracted with work for the first few days of every vacation because I don’t turn it off and on easily. Now I know that I have to have a system in place to release work thoughts. When I’m with my family, we bookend the trip with some kind of relaxing activity. We might sleep in on the first and last days, at a minimum. We don’t schedule anything. That helps me put away the work thoughts and transition into relaxing. Being intentional about the transition is so important to me. — Jennifer Kem, 44, CEO of Branding Agency Kemcomm in Honolulu

One goal I have when I vacation is to stop multitasking and just focus on a single thing at a time. I use the vacation to experiment with letting go of the world I’ve created for myself and escaping my routine. I also like to think about what I want to get out of the time. Ask yourself, “What kind of vacation is this? Is this one for the kids? Is it a retreat for me? Is it for R & R, to get away?” Knowing the answer creates a purpose for my vacation. — Marsha Nunley, 68, Physician Specializing in Bioidentical Hormones and Healthy Aging in San Francisco and Austin, Texas

Before I go on vacation, I write out what my intentions are for the trip. I might write down, “I desire this to be a really rejuvenating time” or “I hope to have ease during my check-in and flight.” I meditate on those intentions and put them on an altar in my house, which I use as a place for all the things I want to come to fruition. I also take crystals and stones with me on vacation: rose quartz for love, citrine for happy energy, and carnelian because it’s grounding. Anytime little things happen on vacation that might agitate me, I take out my crystals and hold them to help me stay in my restful state. — Jo-ná Williams, 37, Intellectual Property and Business Attorney in New York City

Last year my wife and I went on a trip to Costa Rica. We bought plane tickets six months in advance and took Spanish classes at a local college to prepare. Since we’d been looking forward to the trip for so long, it was easier to not let myself work while we were away. I didn’t want to spoil all the anticipation we’d had by working. Planning everything so far in advance also helped us make the best use of our time and really made the trip feel special. My first day back at work, I set aside some time to catch up on everything. — Jon Busdeker, 35, Freelance Videographer and Nonprofit Group Leader in Orlando, Florida

We schedule our work and phone time so our family time doesn’t revolve around it on vacation. I make sure I schedule about an hour of phone and computer time each day and like to do it first thing so it’s out of the way. I feel better knowing the sky isn’t falling back at work. We also have a family agreement that when we sit down for a meal, there is a no-phone rule. My children fought this rule for a while, but now they put their stuff away and we just enjoy our time together. It’s such a stress reliever. — Sunny Hostin, 49, Cohost of the View and Senior Legal Correspondent for ABC News in New York City