Who invented the concept of taking a break? If you would take the bible you’d think it was God. He created the 7th day to rest. But you don’t need to be religious to believe in the power and value of taking a break. There is no one who does not need it. And if all goes well, we do it naturally. We take a break at lunch, a break in the evening, we get up from our chair to take a walk (and a break), we take a break during the weekend, and we take a break when going on summer holidays. It’s healthy. It’s good for us all. It helps us to get through the day, the week, the year. Not taking a break is unhealthy and not sustainable. This is what my company Securex that is active in health management tells its clients. So let’s apply that simple principle on ourselves during summer holidays.
Tips for the Summer Holidays.
We all work hard to get the best result for the company we work for, or when we are self employed for our business. And I hope all of us have fun in doing so. So if you still need to go on holiday this summer, I wish you a great break. Here are some tips to make it successful:
1. Plan a transition period.
- Don’t go into full relaxation immediately.
- So plan some things in the beginning of the summer holidays that keep you busy and get your mind off of work.
2. Make your “last document”
- That’s a list of to do’s for when you come back.
- That way you can forget them during your holidays. It’s like writing them to an external hard disk and whiping them from your mind.
- It will be on your desk when you return.
- I usually send that list to my boss, so that he knows what is going on and that he can intervene when necessary. I call it “summer testament” but some people do not like the word.
- Oh, and write down your passwords too. So you can forget them as well. (unless you breach some security rule by doing so).
3. Be a good leader.
- A sign of good leadership is that your team can do without you during the summer holidays.
- So tell them that you do not wish to be interrupted, unless when it’s urgent.
- Make it clear that you will ask them why they think it’s urgent.
- Make sure people know you trust them to do the right thing. Don’t be mad when they did something you did not like. You were on summer holidays. They weren’t.
- And if there’s someone in your team who feels (s)he will not survive, help him or her to plan the weeks in advance.
4. Define your limits.
- Decide how you will deal with the cloaca of mails and messages.
- Give instructions on how people could reach you in case of emergency.
- Even when it gives you a false sense of peace, do not look into your mails every hour. The less you do it, the better.
- If you cannot afford not to look into your mails at all, plan when and how often you will look.
- Talk about this to your partner and ask him/her to help you do that.
- If need be, give your smartphone to him or her.
- Don’t forget you can switch off data connections so you will not receive those mails.
5. Prepare your return.
- Book some time in your agenda to catch up.
- Realize that most issues will have been solved when you return.
- Pick up your to-do list (it’s on your desk) and go through that prior of checking your mails.
- Use some artefacts of your summer holidays in the office afterwards (an exotic pen, paper from your hotel, a tie you bought on the Rialto bridge, …- don’t bother with good taste)
Happy summer holidays. Enjoy the time with your family and friends. Keep it safe. Come back full of energy.