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23 May

Four tricks for a more relaxed holiday

Datum: 2024-05-23 08:51
A small red and white lighthouse stands on a rocky island surrounded by calm blue water under a clear sky.

Anoth­er vaca­tion is fast approach­ing. Per­haps it still feels far off, but believe me, it will be here before you know it. Get­ting a break from work and enjoy­ing the sum­mer will be won­der­ful, but regard­less of how long our break from it all will be, there is a chance that our work tem­po accel­er­ates all the way to the very last moments at work, and then… sud­den­ly we have flipped into vaca­tion-mode, slight­ly ruf­fled, mak­ing the shift some­what like a clas­sic Cos­mo-entrance in the TV-series Sein­feld.

For you who pre­fer lis­ten­ing to read­ing, this post is also avail­able as an episode of the Done!” pod­cast:

Smooth sail­ing and a soft­er landing

Now, would we not rather tran­si­tion into that vaca­tion mode smooth­ly and set­tle soft­ly into a relaxed hol­i­day, and then once it is over, start work­ing at a pleas­ant pace as well? I was recent­ly inter­viewed by two of Sweden’s three major news­pa­pers as well as a mag­a­zine regard­ing how struc­ture can help us do just that, so today I want to high­light a few things we can do right now to make these few months before the sum­mer hol­i­days more pleas­ant and enjoyable. 

Do this

  • Sift and sort through your list — If your things to get done before vacay”-list is so long that it makes you uncom­fort­able, be kind to your­self and sift out as much as pos­si­ble.
    1. Of all the items on your list, which and what do not, in all hon­esty, actu­al­ly need to get done before your vaca­tion? Remove these tasks from the list completely.
    2. What tasks could you post­pone for your return with­out any severe con­se­quence? Set new due dates for these non-urgent tasks.
    3. Which tasks could you sim­ply ask some­one else to do now? For­mu­late the first step for del­e­gat­ing each and every one of these tasks, if del­e­gat­ing them is not so easy and effort­less that you could do it right away.

    You would be wise to reserve time in the cal­en­dar for doing the remain­ing tasks, those that real­ly do need to get done before clock­ing out for the sum­mer, some­time between now and the moment you leave the office on that last work­day. And in addi­tion to that, sched­ule as few oth­er things as pos­si­ble dur­ing the final week of work.
  • Pre­vent inter­rup­tions — Take time now to think about what ques­tions col­leagues, clients, sup­pli­ers or oth­er peo­ple who are usu­al­ly depen­dent on you, might have and need answers for when you are away. Per­haps you could even straight out ask them if they them­selves can pre­dict what they might need help with when you are out of the office. Send them any infor­ma­tion you think they might need before going on hol­i­day, write a sim­ple FAQ (which you could call a PAQ — Prob­a­bly Asked Ques­tions”), or give them the links to the doc­u­ments they might need access to.
  • Be clear in your out-of-office auto-replies — If your work some­how demands it, decide how peo­ple who urgent­ly need to reach you in case of emer­gen­cies can do so, and give explic­it instruc­tions in your out-of-office auto-response email, in your voice­mail mes­sage and oth­er poten­tial chan­nels of com­mu­ni­ca­tion you use and which allow you to pre­pare an out-of-office mes­sage. Per­haps you will choose text mes­sages to be the way peo­ple can reach you so that you can refrain from fre­quent­ly open­ing the email inbox just to make sure you are not miss­ing some­thing impor­tant and instead rest assured that noth­ing is wait­ing for you since you will be alert­ed via text if there is. Make sure to clear­ly state if you will even answer the emails you got dur­ing your hol­i­day once you are back at work. It can be impor­tant to the sender to know since the view that you can just calm­ly delete all mes­sages received dur­ing your vaca­tion as peo­ple will get in touch again if it was that impor­tant” is becom­ing increas­ing­ly com­mon and I hear it quite often from peo­ple I meet.
  • Leave it halfway - If you, despite your best efforts, do not man­age to fin­ish a task before you leave, and it is not a big deal if you con­tin­ue work­ing on it when you get back, do as Ernest Hem­ing­way sup­pos­ed­ly did — stop in the mid­dle of it. Before you leave the task for now, make a note in or by the task in the to-do-list what the last thing you did was, and what the obvi­ous next step to begin with ought to be when you get back, and the thresh­old for get­ting start­ed again will be as low as it can pos­si­bly get.

Here comes summer …”

Just as a sin­gle day of sun­shine does not make a sum­mer, nei­ther does a sin­gle tip of struc­ture guar­an­tee a rest­ful vaca­tion free from inter­rup­tions — but it does even out the odds a bit, and if you fol­low my lead, it will make those last weeks and days before it is time to put work on hold a tad more bear­able. You will fin­ish off feel­ing less stressed, expe­ri­ence few­er annoy­ing inter­rup­tions of your well-need­ed vaca­tion, and find it eas­i­er to ease your­self back into the rou­tine of work and every­day life again once it is over. Worth a shot, wouldn’t you say?

Any oth­er ideas?

Do you use some oth­er trick or struc­ture-relat­ed method for reliev­ing your­self of stress and ten­sion before the vaca­tion, and ensur­ing it becomes as rest­ful as pos­si­ble? Share your best tips with me.

(You could also del­e­gate some tasks to your calmer sum­mer self!)

Want more? You can have it.

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