It’s the best feeling in the world when you get to take a break from work. Whether you’re on leave or observing an official holiday, it feels like a much-deserved reward for honest and focused day-to-day labor.
But as much as you’d like to enjoy your time away from busy schedules and urgent deadlines, work still follows you. Maybe someone at work needs something that only you can help with; maybe you forgot to submit an important report before punching out the day before your vacation. There is a whole host of possible reasons, and they can all seem unavoidable.
But fear not! They are most certainly manageable and avoidable, and we put together a list of things you can all do to prevent work from following you on vacation.
LET EVERYONE KNOW YOU’LL BE AWAY.
Your time off may be your personal privilege, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be missed. People will be looking for you if they need something that’s part of your duties, and if they have no idea that you’re on an approved break they might form a negative impression of you.
Give proper advice ahead of time that you’ll be out of the office. It saves everyone from having to guess where you are and forming the wrong conclusion about your punctuality. Also, they’ll have an easier time knowing when to ask you for help; if they know you’ll be going away, they can ask you for your output in advance before you take your break from work.
ASK COLLEAGUES WHAT THEY’LL NEED IN ADVANCE.
Speaking of doing things in advance, you can take the initiative to ask your coworkers what they’ll need from you soon. These requirements might not always be outlined on your regular tasking, so they can catch you by surprise if you don’t ask.
And obviously, knowing what coworkers would possibly need from you while you’re away can help you prepare those things in advance. This reduces the chances of that you’ll have to put in some work off-site during your vacation (a time you should be using to, well, take a rest from work.)
Sometimes, your coworkers won’t be able to tell you right away what they’d need before you take a vacation. In these situations, try to look ahead for any unexpected situations that they might not see coming, and do what you can to prepare them.
You’ll need to be mindful of cause and effect – how the current situation can lead to new ones, and all the possibilities that come with them. Are there documents that your team or another department might need soon because it’s audit season, even if you don’t have a scheduled audit yet? Is the sudden change in the weather a sign that you have to reinforce your workplace against strong winds and rain? These are the things you have to anticipate before taking a vacation, no matter what your profession is.
ARRANGE YOUR TO-DO LIST.
After getting all these advance tasks from others or from anticipating them, you need to sort them in a way that will help you deliver all of them before your vacation. It depends on how you want to work on them; do you want to sort by priority or urgency? Do you want to handle first the tasks that take longer to finish?
Also, plan these new tasks in a way that they will not interfere with your regular tasks. You’re trying to make sure that nothing will be left behind unfinished before your break from work, so see to it that your scheduling is efficient.
DELIVER YOUR OUTPUT EARLY.
Of course, all that planning will be wasted if you don’t actually accomplish what you need to get done before you’re out the door. The next time you’ll be at your workplace, it might be a day too late to finish them.
Once you’re done adjusting your schedule to accommodate your advance deliverables, get to work right away. Follow timeline you’ve set for yourself, and make sure that it all wraps up before you go on vacation. It’s also given that you double- and even triple-check the quality of your work, because it has to be good to go while you’re on leave.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TASKS THAT FINISH THEMSELVES.
With technology becoming more and more embedded in every profession, it’s very likely that you have access to a few modernizations that keep your work in line with modern standards. Among these innovations, you might have tools that produce results or output independently, as long as you give them the proper commands or setup.
If there is any part of your process that is automated, take full advantage of it so you can budget your focus and effort more generously among other tasks that can only be done manually. You’ll also get the benefit of consistency, because automated processes are specifically designed to produce the same quality each time.
CUT YOURSELF OFF COMPLETELY.
So you’ve submitted all your deliverables, including the ones you did in advance. You’ve finished all your tasks, including the ones that no one else could do in case you weren’t there. You’ve left work, ready to make the most of your time away. Nothing can spoil your well-deserved break now!
Except there’s one thing that still can: forgetting to temporarily block any work-related communication.
If you don’t cut yourself off from these calls, messages, and notifications, you’ll still be worrying about work even when you shouldn’t be. The worst part is, if your work is constantly getting in the way of your time off, you might develop a negative attitude towards work.
You’re supposed to be out-of-office! Set your phone to ignore or at least mute these distractions while you’re on leave or on holiday. You can just turn them on again when you come back to work.
With all of these tips, you should be able to maximize the extra time for yourself, your family, and other pursuits outside of work. Don’t let work be a distraction for you on holiday or on leave; that’ll just make you bitter towards work, which is not a healthy attitude to have.
Enjoying the break that you worked hard for is key to maintaining a positive outlook on your work. Make it fun, make it relaxing, and make it worry-free!