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It’s that time of year where many workers and business owners are starting to wind down and look forward to a break over the Christmas/New Year period, and planning ahead to make sure you have your ‘house in order’ before you have time off is the key to enjoying a nice, relaxing break.

December is always a quiet time of year for me, so not only do I enjoy taking time out to rest, relax and rejuvenate; it’s also a great month for me to plan the forthcoming year ahead.

So before you take your well earned break, make sure you have everything in order and organised so that you are not constantly interrupted or contacted by clients or colleagues whilst you are enjoying your down time. Here are my top five tips to get you organised and ready to enjoy that well earned break!

  • Make sure that you inform your clients and customers that you will be away if relevant. Email them personally or include as part of your email signature for a couple of weeks before you are due to leave; this gives them ample time to finalise or take care of any outstanding business they need to do with you before you take time out.
  • If the above is not possible, or someone is looking after your clients whilst you are away, then advise your clients of who will be looking after things in your absence and introduce them by email so that all parties have all of the relevant contact details and information they may require.
  • Empower your staff or colleagues to take care of things in your absence. Give them clear instructions and guidelines well in advance so that they don’t have to contact you for approval/authority to action items that may come up whilst you are away. You are not indispensable(no matter how much you think your are!) and most staff will really rise to the challenge if you give them the chance to shine and the opportunity to step up, so do not make yourself a martyr to your work.
  • Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’. Most people are always happy to be contacted for a real emergency, but do not feel that you need to still be contactable 24/7 if you are away on leave. Everyone is entitled to a break, so make sure that you delegate to others who will be more than capable to act in your absence.
  • Switch off! Ensure that you have systems in place so that you can truly switch off. Ensure that your Message Bank greeting outlines the details of your absence and advises who to contact if they need to, and do the same on your email by activating ‘out of office’. As long as you are clear in regards to details of how they can contact someone if needed for an urgent item and give clear advice of when you are due back on deck, you’ll find that most people can and will work around your parameters.

And my greatest advice of how to get the most of your time is exactly that – enjoy, switch off and relax. Use your break to completely re-set, re-charge, rejuvenate and most importantly have fun! It’s your time and don’t be guilty about enjoying! The more you relaxed and able to ‘be’ rather than ‘do’ you are, the more refreshed and ready for action you’ll be when you do return back to work. The more that you enjoy your down time, the more you’ll have to contribute on your return when you are raring to go and get back into it.

Happy holidays!