However much you love your job, there’s nothing quite like looking forward to taking some time off. It could be a duvet day, a long weekend, or even your annual 2-week holiday in the sun. Whatever it is, you’ll have a clear vision in your mind about what you’re going to do and how you’re going to spend that valuable down time. But there’s just one thing standing in your way, and that’s getting organised at work to prepare for your time off. 
 
Holidays and time off away from your work is essential to your health and wellbeing. Escaping from a full and stressful workload gives you valuable space and time to really get away from it all and spend time with friends, family, and loved ones. And taking a step back helps you recharge your batteries, reduce your stress levels, and get some much needed perspective on your workload. 
While you’re at work, you can get organised to become a time management superhero to help you make the most of every minute in your working day. But much as you look forward to leaving the office for dust to make the most of your time off, good time and work management can make things a whole lot easier when you come back. 
 
It might be the last thing on your mind, but getting properly organised before you leave will make coming back to missed deadlines, an inbox full of emails, or a mountain of chaos, far less likely. Here’s what you can do to get things in order before you leave so your return will be as smooth and stress free as possible. 
 
Manage your time effectively 
Time management is crucial to maintaining a productive working schedule. But leading up to your time away means you should pay extra attention to time management, especially in the final week or two before your last day. 
 
Your boss and colleagues will almost certainly know that you’ll be away, but they’re busy with their own schedules so may forget specific dates or times - make sure you keep them updated and send a reminder if you need to. And don’t forget to tell colleagues from other departments as well. Though you may not work together directly, keeping them in the loop will be helpful if they need you for anything. 
 
If you have a shared work calendar, remember to update it to show when you’re away. And if you can, block out time on your final day and your first day back to avoid meetings. That way you can tie up loose ends before you leave and have time to get your head back in the game when you come back. 
 
Prioritise, delegate, and handover your workload 
Work is an ongoing process, so it’s pretty unlikely you’ll ever get ‘everything done’ before you leave – or ever. But as your time off gets closer, make sure you focus on the more important tasks and push those projects further up your priority list. In the meantime, let the less important ones – and the one with longer deadlines – wait until you get back. 
 
You’ll doubtless have several long-term projects on the go when you leave as well – the kind of project that you’re expected to continue. But, of course, that’s the last thing you want to be thinking about. Sending an hour or two on a handover with your boss or a colleague can be a highly productive and effective way to make sure projects don’t grind to a halt while you’re away.  
 
You might also have daily tasks to complete as part of your role, so if these need to be continued while you’re away, make sure you’ve delegated to a colleague accordingly. 
 
Get that Out of Office ON! 
When you’re away, and you’ve cleared, delegated, and handed over any work you can, the last thing you should be thinking about – or looking at – is your work email. For employees who are able to work remotely at any time, that will almost always include access to emails which can be invaluable. But at any other time – like your time off – it can be a burden that never really allows you to ‘let go’. 
 
Research by Glassdoor, a global job listing and recruitment agency, shows that, while taking their full holiday entitlement, “23 percent of employees regularly checked emails, and 15 percent continued working through fear of getting behind and the consequences of not hitting their targets.” 
 
Having that space and time to disengage from work is really essential to your mental health, and while it may not always be 100% possible – especially if you’re in a Manager, Director, or Managing Director role – you should be taking steps to minimise your email activity. 
 
Before you leave, set up an out of office message that tells people that you’re away, when you’ll be back, and details of a colleague who can be contacted in your absence. If you’ve done what you can to spread your workload, this final step should greatly reduce your need to check in – and respond. 
 
Get more from your time management 
When you’re spending any time away, it’s important to have trust in your team and your fellow colleagues. Following these time management tips before you go on holiday will let you enjoy your time off even more, safe in the knowledge that things are being handled and taken care of while you’re away. 
 
But, like any other skill, time management is something that needs to be worked on and maintained in order to improve your efficiency and productivity in the workplace. As specialists in effective time management training, Clearfocus Training can offer your business a tailored course to teach you the fundamental factors that will start making a real difference to the way you work. 
 
Whether you’re an employer or employee, our 1-day Effective Time Management course is for you if you need to take more control of the way you spend and manage your time in the workplace. The course can be tailored to meet your own objectives and needs and will teach you everything you need to know about organisation, productivity, and learning the subtle art of saying “no”. 
 
Ideal for up to 15 delegates, the course will be delivered by a fully qualified mental health professional at a time and venue that suits you - wherever you’re based in the UK. For more information and to book your course, call us today on 01392 248 130 or email info@clearfocustraining.co.uk 
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