It’s the two weeks that we look forward to all year. Your time to completely step back and switch off from the daily routine, and it’s important to take this time for your own peace of mind. However, the thought of the lead up to your holiday and what will be waiting for you when you arrive back, can dampen the brightest holiday spirit.

Before and during your holiday:

  • A week or two before you go, put an hour aside to compile a complete task and schedule list of anything you need to clear before you go. Put dates and timings on the list as a guide.
  • If someone is covering for you while you’re away, ensure they have a detailed handover document with updates on anything outstanding, what might come in and provide any contact information that could be needed. Let others know who to contact while you’re away.
  • Plan ahead and block out time on your first day back so that no meetings get booked in on the day of your return. Knowing you’ve got a bit of breathing space will make you less worried about coming in to any last minute meetings etc.
  • Take a bit of time to unsubscribe from any junk emails you get or, if you get regular information-only emails that require no specific action, set up an Outlook rule for these emails to filter directly into a specific folder so they’re not clogging up your inbox on your return.
  • A great tip would be to advise people that if their message is very important and can’t be dealt with by anyone else but you, hold onto the message and send it when you know you’ll be back in.
  • Set yourself rules! Don’t check business emails at all or if you can’t tear yourself away, only check them once a day for half an hour. Either way, make sure people are aware of whether you’ll be accessible or not and don’t feel bad – this is your time to recharge and refresh!
  • Don’t forget to set up the all-important out of office reply.

On your return:

  • On your first day back, if your boss/manager or the person who was covering for you is around, ask if there’s anything that requires your urgent attention before you start your work.
  • Make a conscious effort to hold onto the refreshed post-holiday feeling. Pace yourself during the first couple of days back, ensure you take your lunch breaks, get some fresh air, have a walk etc.
  • Keep your out of office on an extra half day or even a full day while you slot back into your routine.
  • Before going through your emails in-depth, sort through your inbox and delete the junk emails.
  • Categorise your emails or group them into ‘Conversation’ mode so that all the threads on the same topic are together. If you’re unable to do this, don’t respond to anything until you’ve gone through all your emails to ensure someone else hasn’t already dealt with the query.
  • Check your calendar and book your next holiday! There’s no better way to combat the post-holiday blues than to book something else to give you something to look forward to!

This article first appeared in The Pitman Training Magazine, which features a great deal of articles, hints & tips etc.

You can read the magazine online by clicking this link:
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