July days hadn’t even reached double figures and some kids had already broken up for (rather lengthy) school holidays and now the sun is out.......finally! Summer is here!
It might be difficult to comprehend that fact with the glorious British summer showcasing it’s typically damp and drab personality much of the time, but many are now counting the days to when they jet off to warm and sunnier locations for their annual dose of rest and relaxation……..but is it really restful?......or relaxing?
Where do you start with the holiday itself? The challenge of packing luggage within weight limits, heaving airports, delayed planes, lost baggage, hotels that are not quite as they seemed in the brochure…….and that’s before you even get down to the pool for your first day in the sun!.....holidays are not always the relaxing getaway we were hoping for.
I would like to concentrate on an area we can have a little more control over…..our ability to “switch off”, our ability to leave work and other external distractions behind. In an age when we find it almost impossible to separate ourselves from a screen of some sort, it is no wonder that stress is so widespread. Even when we stop work, we’re on our computers, or laptops…. tablets, smartphones. If it’s not Facebook it’s Twitter or Instagram or Snapchat. Unless we REALLY switch off and we kick back………and watch TV!
With real down time at such a premium, it’s important to maximise your holiday time – why bother booking a holiday if you spend half your time pacing up and down the side of the swimming pool talking to Steve from accounts or telling Gemma how to do your job in your absence?
The first step is to acknowledge the importance of your holiday. Many would assume that because they are not physically working, that they are resting. You may indeed be resting those aching limbs, but what about your mind? Your brain is a critical tool of your trade…….whatever business you are in! Look after it, rest it, nourish it. A holiday should allow you the opportunity to relax, repair and finally recharge your mind so you return ready to face all the familiar challenges at 100% capacity.
So, how can we effectively detach ourselves from work and truly enjoy our holiday time? There are two important areas to consider, your work environment before you go, and your personal space once you are away:
Finish projects where possible – manage your time in the last week or two before you leave, prioritising important projects that you want to close out, and get them done.
Delegate - Everything else can be delegated, whether you are a manager or member of a team, it is vital to delegate when you are present, even more so when you are not! It’s unhealthy for your business if you don’t trust your colleagues and unhealthy for you if you attempt to do everything yourself. See your holiday as an opportunity to empower your colleagues with responsibility, give them the space to flourish and prove themselves. As long as you brief them properly and prepare them, you may be pleasantly surprised……and you may realise that none of us are indispensable!
Set boundaries – Clearly identify dates you’re away and return, what to do in an emergency……and define what constitutes an emergency! You can stipulate more detail if necessary, who to refer to in certain scenarios, what to do in others……and if there is any time when you should be contacted. This is also useful personally, to encourage you to think about what is really important!
Prioritise – Things will go wrong as they do on most days in every business. Accept that and be comfortable with it, pick your battles and let the little things go. Your business is capable of riding the bumps of daily life when you are there, and will do so when you are away.
Email – once you are away from the office it is important to avoid regular contact, and email is a constant source of information that you don’t need on holiday. Switch off email on your phone and break the habit of checking it every few minutes.
Schedule a check-in – If you REALLY have to be in touch with work, schedule a time, once a day, switch on and deal with it then, and only then. If you need to speak to the office ensure they know your schedule and only speak during that time.
Turn off notifications – Use your phone when YOU want to. Our devices are very good at interrupting our lives on a daily basis, don’t let them do that on your holiday time!
Just because you are switching off it doesn’t mean you won’t think about work at some point. Holiday is often a good time to take stock of how things are going, and once you have fully relaxed, and your mind has a chance to recharge, that’s when you often see things from a different perspective……and more clearly…….you might even get some fantastic, new creative ideas!
Essentially, if you are going on holiday make sure it is just that – a holiday. Leave work at work. Don’t be one of the 66% of people who said they spoke to someone back at work at least once a day while on holiday, don’t be one of the 75%+ of owner-managers who admitted to replying to work emails while on holiday…….and please don’t be one of the 58% who had an argument with their partner on holiday as a result of work related communication!!
……and if you do find you are someone who prefers to be in the office than relaxing on holiday, then maybe there are other issues that you should address…….that’s a whole different subject!! #holiday #relax #stress #sunshine #heatwave