As the summer months approach, it’s important to remember to block time for a well-deserved break, unless you have done so already.

It’s easy to relegate the planning of ‘fun’ time to a later stage. Perhaps you are in the swing of a major project, maybe you are making inroads at work or perhaps you are fully focused and in the zone. Aside from the importance of taking time off to avoid burnout, the benefits of having something to look forward to – on both your work and private life – are not to be underestimated.

Here is how to make certain it happens and that you make the most of it:

  1. Plan ahead – Schedule your break as early as possible, if you fail to do so you may end up not taking it at all. Planning allows you to identify the work you can take, what you may need to miss out on and what you may need to delegate.
  2. Take a week at a stretch (if possible) – it may take at least a day or two to stop thinking about emails, projects, colleagues etc. Taking a week or more gives you several days where you can relax knowing tomorrow is another day off.
  3. Go somewhere different (within your budget) – Get away from home if you can afford it. This will take you away from home chores, home improvement projects, and clearing the home workspace. The physical distance will help you to detach from your responsibilities. Even a staycation can help you detach.
  4. Prepare your team and clients early – You may be haunted by the idea of taking a week or more away from work. There is always more work to be done and client requests to fulfil. Work with your team and other leaders in the organisation to support each other. Delegate tasks early and ensure you give any training or handover ahead of time to allow for any clarifications and ensure that the tasks can be handled. Inform your clients who will be supporting them and give them peace of mind that they are in good hands. This may also be an opportunity to help your direct reports gain some independence and build their confidence.    
  5. Minimise dependency on technology (including your phone) – Have an out-of-office reply automated in good time. Switch off any work-related notifications before you go. Or if you are courageous enough remove work-related apps from your phone to take away any temptation to check them.

If you plan your time strategically you will reduce a pre-holiday headache and relax once you are away.

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