As we head towards another Bank Holiday weekend, here are a few observations on the best ways in which people plan to maximise the chance to relax and spend time with family and friends.
Put in extra time if need be in the weeks running up to the holiday weekend
This allows you to finish projects (or to reach a convenient point to break), clear emails and generally 'get ahead of the game'. Tidy your desk and the office generally and review your 'to do list' for when you return so you have a clear plan of action and a clear head. Psychologically, you are therefore well placed to enjoy the extended break.
Set your Out of Office
This way, any emails which come in over the weekend have a suitable 'holding' response and, if need be, directions to be followed in the event of an emergency. If you expect your first day back to be hectic, consider changing to another more appropriate auto-response at that time.
During the holiday weekend, put your phone and laptop away. It helps you to properly 'unplug' - both mentally and literally!
Plan how you are going to spend your holiday weekend
This way, you don't get tempted to spend time working. Just ensure your plans are flexible enough to allow you to cover any business emergencies. However, do resist the temptation to 'over-plan' to avoid returning to the office without having spent time purely chilling. This is particularly important if you spend your working life hitting deadlines and clockwatching for appointments. Enjoying the great outdoors during August is a fantastic way to both get moving if you're usually desk-bound and to enjoy the lovely British summer (yes, I have decided it's going to be lovely, and I won't accept anything less!)
If you plan to go away, ideally make it at home not abroad
Foreign travel is great, but organising flights, airport parking, transfers, exchanging cash, insurance, mini toiletries, itineraries to get the most out of your stay and online checking in are not the best preparation for just a short break away from work. A destination only an hour or two from home is perfect!
Is work so busy that the thought of taking time off stresses you still further?
Think long-term. Still allow yourself a break. However, consider switching the dates around. For example, work Bank Holiday Monday but take the Friday before off instead. You benefit from a three-day weekend still, but think of all the work you will get through on the Monday when it's quieter because so many other people are off. Everyone's a winner!
Don't think about work!
Easier said than done, I know. But to truly switch off and recharge your batteries is the best way to return to work revitalised and ready for the challenges ahead. Careful forethought and planning maximise your chances of doing this.
If you recognise yourself in any of the above and feel you could use a PA but can't afford it, have you considered hiring a virtual assistant instead?
A VA (or freelance PA) is available for hire only for the hours you need and can help with your 'back office' tasks such as email management (or 'gatekeeping'), diary management, a telephone service, proofreading, document formatting...and much more, allowing you to concentrate on clients (new and existing) and billable work. I'd love to have a no-obligation chat if you'd like to find out more.