The summer holidays are fast approaching – and we can look forward to a couple of weeks without work! We’re looking forward to being able to slow down and get the mental batteries recharged. But for some of us, it can be difficult for the brain to take time off, because the tasks may still be lurking in the back of our minds.
So how can we avoid having to think about work so that we can have a well-deserved vacation? Here are our best practical tips for both getting shut down well before your holiday and, not least, getting a plan in place to get started well again after the holiday:
1. Prioritize the workload
Critically review your overall list of tasks. Prioritize what you absolutely need to accomplish before the holidays and postpone the tasks that can wait. Be aware that it’s better to finish a few important tasks than to leave a bunch of half-finished ones – so be realistic about what you can accomplish and have clear goals. It will make it easier to return – and give you peace of mind while on vacation.
2. Plan for your return
Once you have planned all the work that needs to be done before the holiday, you can also look a little ahead and plan what will happen after your holiday. Plan the tasks to be solved as the first after the holidays, while they are still “top of mind”. Looking a little ahead can also help you assess whether you should prepare your team to be able to be stand-by on something, while you’re gone.
3. Limit meeting activities
Be especially critical with your meeting activities in the days leading up to the holidays and the first days after. Specifically, consider blocking the last working day before the holiday and the first day after as “meeting free”. In this way, you create a valuable buffer of time to get a handle on the “loose ends” before the holiday – and a little extra air in the calendar to get back in a good way.
4. Need for deputies
If others must take care of your tasks while you’re on vacation, be sure to dress them well for it. Align expectations clearly and do not hand over half-finished tasks that will take an inordinate amount of time for your colleague to solve. Consider whether there is a need for more detailed instructions and information so that the task can be solved correctly – this way you can avoid having to be disturbed during the holidays.
5. Make your accessibility visible
It is important that your colleagues and collaborators are notified of when you are on holiday. Be sure to mark your holiday as “out of office” in the calendar, and supplement with autoresponders on your email and chat, as well as a holiday message on your voicemail. Tell them when you are back and who, if any, is your deputy. Extend your autoresponder to the first day after the holiday so that you have a buffer to get “back in the game”.
6. Remember to take time off
Our final piece of advice is simply that you should remember to take time off when you have time off! If you’ve followed the advice above, you’re ready to take a vacation — and you can feel relaxed knowing you’re in control of things. Enjoy your holiday with family and friends – and do what you enjoy. Forget about work for a while – and remember that the holidays are about recharging your batteries for new challenges.
The entire PEP team wishes you a wonderful summer!