Ah, the end is in sight…so, so near yet so, so far! How you wish you can be out shopping for those last minute stocking fillers and relaxing with family and friends while you declare your New Year resolutions. Unfortunately, there is work still to be done. Yet when it does come time to transition, have you really prepared to switch off?

How many of you are guilty of working while on a holiday from work? I think there are a ridiculously large number of you raising your hands right now. In fact, according to Executive Style, 73 per cent of Australians admit to working while on holiday, more than double the global average of 33 per cent. That’s a shocking statistic! If you are continuously thinking about, and checking into work while on your break, how can you expect to return to work feeling refreshed?

Unplugging is not only healthy, but necessary. So what is your plan to ensure you relax and take care of you? It starts with clearing your desk before your break. You don’t want to take the chaos of work on vacation with you so don’t plan anything important on the day before you break. Nor for the day you return.  Have your customised autoreply email and voicemail messages informing people of your departure and return dates. If you have any high priority clients, let them know that you will be out of reach for a period of time and take care of any needs they may have in the prelude. Let your colleagues also know of your holiday plans so that if they need anything from you, they can organise everything well in advance. If you are the manager of a team, ensure you handover responsibilities, perhaps even leave your login and password details with someone should they need to access your files. And let them know your rules of engagement. If it is zero contact while you are away or if you permit yourself to check in every two days for thirty minutes, be certain your team is clear on this and that you are comfortable with your decision.

It is unlikely that you will complete all your tasks before your break. Don’t obsess about it. You need to accept this. So decide what you must do, what you can do and what you can leave until you get back. It may be advantageous to make a few checklists to ensure you remain organised in the lead up to your break – the month before, the week before, the days before takeoff. There may be vacation items you need to finalise before you leave too. This is your most important list, the one that outlines where you will focus your attention while you are away from the workplace. You deserve a break. Make sure you give yourself one. They don’t come along often. And yes, burnout is a real risk if you don’t find time for the activities and people that are important to you.

If you want to really ensure you check out, find a retreat or destination where technology is forbidden or restricted. This gives you no choice but to zone out from the hustle and bustle of work. You may even indulge in some yoga, bush walking or another activity that you find relaxing. Workaholics take note; most people who take a break perform better upon their return to work. Many studies have proven so. A change of scenery is also likely to inspire you. With your brain finally allowed the space and time to be creative you may find yourself generating new concepts and solving problems in ways you never previously considered. You will also sleep better, feel better and feel more energised. Have you ever noticed that your most innovative ideas come immediately after a break from work life?

If work is taking over your life then you are very much in need of a holiday. Plan your vacation well so you are not putting in double or triple time in the lead up to your break. Or you will break! A stress-free holiday is essential for your health and when it is time to finally return to the office, you will feel more inspired, more motivated and be more productive. By giving your mind and body a well deserved break to recalibrate this Christmas and New Year so you can start 2020 with a fresh perspective is a great resolution if you are looking for one. I know I am. See you in the New Year, stay safe and really, really enjoy your holiday.

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