How to ‘switch off’ from work on holiday

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The whole idea of a holiday is to get away from the daily grind but, for many, switching off and avoiding your texts, calls and work-related emails can prove more difficult than you think. Sitting on a sun lounger with a cocktail in hand should be the perfect time to forget about the rest of the world but it’s also prime pondering time when you can easily begin to sweat the small stuff and worry about the pile of work awaiting your return to work.

But it’s time to stop worrying so much about work and learn to leave it in the capable hands of others instead, and here are a few things to think about while you do it.

  • Be prepared – Finish all the work you can before you go on annual leave and then delegate everything else. It’s a good opportunity to practice your delegating skills and it will show you trust your colleagues too, which is always a positive thing. If you’re worried about one project in particular, or the person you’re delegating to, provide contact details for a colleague you trust most in case they need assistance.
  • Set an out of office message on your emails. Checking emails can be addictive, and often too easy if you have access to them on your phone. But if you’re checking in on them a few times a day on holiday, you’re not properly taking the break you really need. An out of office message will tell the person emailing you that you’re not available, so don’t be concerned about getting back to them. And if you add contact details for a colleague in your absence, then important queries will find their way to the right person in the end.
  • If you do have to check emails and there is no other way around it, then be strict with yourself. Schedule a few minutes every day or two to check in on emails and respond to the necessary ones. Be mindful of the time you choose as you don’t want to spoil your free time with your family or friends. Pick a time early in the day, even before breakfast and then dedicate the rest of your day to enjoying your holiday.
  • Switch off work-related notifications. Switch off email alerts and sign out of any work-related social media accounts so that you’re not bombarded with notifications throughout the day and night.
  • Trust your colleagues. When they go on holiday, they leave the work to you. So trust that they will do the same in your absence. And remember, if it’s something really important, they will find a way to reach you.
  • Make the decision to enjoy yourself. You deserve this break, you’ve worked hard and you’ve saved harder. Going back to work stressed and worried won’t prove very productive so take the time off, enjoy it, and you’ll find you return to the office bright eyed, bushy tailed and ready to take on the world once again.