Productivity tips to keep your holiday stress free

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Holiday, by definition, is time off. So, whatever you’re up to this season, leave the stress at home and the office behind.

Except, switching off from the office grind isn’t easy. Many of us find the prospect of taking our annual leave a stress in itself. Will the team cope without you? How’s your inbox going to look when you get back? Can that email really wait an entire seven days? Oh the holiday-related horror!

Holidays are necessary and useful – experts agree that time off has huge benefits to our work. They can lower stress, increase happiness and lead to higher productivity. But this only happens if we holiday the right way.

So how do you make sure you’re leaving work behind before you board the plane? It’s all in the productivity. Prepare for going on holiday as thoroughly as you possibly can in order to make a clean break.

We’ve hunted down some of the top tips from entrepreneurs and business names to find out how they make stress-free holidays happen.

Out-of-office means Out. Of. Office.

The email productivity rules take a front seat when managing time off. Don’t be tempted to check them while you’re away. Having the right autoresponder set up before you leave is a game-changer. Set it up to say you won’t be looking at emails while you’re away and stick to your conviction.

Be strategic about your return date. “Give yourself an extra day or two of time to get back to the office and actually get stuff done,” Dmitri Leonov of Sandbox told Fastcompany. Plus, everyone will be super impressed when you get back to them on your scheduled day of return.

To keep your inbox clean, respond to everything you can before you leave and make regular contacts aware that you’re leaving. It may make them hold back from sending yet another email.

Prepare to return

Lots of us work hard to clear to-do lists in the build up to some time off, delegating to teams and colleagues and working late to complete projects. We often neglect the most stress-inducing part of the holiday – the return. Most of the stress that we feel while we’re away is caused by the dread of coming back to problems, a build-up of emails and something we’d forgotten to do before we left.

“You want to be able to hit the ground running when you get back, not panic,” advises Kate from insurance company Columbus Direct. Schedule future meetings and produce a list that you can jump into when you get back. It’ll make the transition back to work much less overwhelming.

Have a delegation strategy

Don’t leave anything to chance in your absence – it’ll just add to the stress. Most of us will assign a single contact to take on communications while they’re away, but there’s more to successful holiday prep than an emergency point-of-contact.

“Instead try to think of how you can divide things up amongst a team,” says Michelle Pinchev of CareerEdge. List your responsibilities and delegate according to different scenarios. Communicate with these people individually to make sure they understand the task they might be needed for, and who else they can involve.

Prepare before you go and things will be much smoother on your return. Make it your mission this summer to keep your holiday as stress free as it should be, and you’ll reap the productivity benefits when you’re back!
Now, stop reading this and double-check that you packed your passport…

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