how to survive pre-holiday pressure 😰
(why do we have holidays again?)
hello dear reader,
The week or so before a holiday in our house is always totally manic – I don’t seem to have ever managed to grasp hold of forward planning, plus the adjustment of workload and expectations in order to have the run up that I dream of. I have a friend called Gemma who I am eternally envious of. Everything planned, everything listed, everything in neat piles and in order. This is what I look like in my dreams. More Gemma. But in reality, I have taken on too much (again), have umpteen emails to write and the washing machine and tumble dryer are on all night in order to be ready. Sigh. We end up working right to the wire (that’s me and my husband) and, if I am honest, have more often than not headed off in the car for a holiday pretty uptight and not in the most optimum state of mind. (That was a euphemism).
But, dear reader, since when has this blog been about ‘do as I do’? Like any good coach/ parent/ adult/ leader/ boss, this is about doing as I say, and nothing to do with how I actually live. (That was a joke).
Here’s a few thoughts to help you survive the pre-holiday pressure:
Before a break, even more than ever, you need to prioritise. You cannot do everything, and so we have to choose what is most important. Make a work list and a home list and decide what has to be done, what you’d like to get done, and what just needs to wait for your return. The things that have to be done? Put those on your calendar and allocate the time you need.
🛫accept your limitations
If you are having two weeks off, you cannot fit those two weeks into the week before. It’s not possible. You are choosing to have a break, and so that block of time is now not available for work. Therefore, you have to accept that you are limiting what you can achieve in that month. It’s how time works, people. Also, what is the point of going on holiday so frazzled that you end up being ill and taking a week to unwind? PSA – it’s not a badge of honour to take a week to unwind – it’s a warning sign.
🛫manage people’s expectations
In the run up to your break, you might need to adjust people’s expectations of what you can get done. I am always so keen to turn stuff around quickly for my clients, but I find when I actually have the confidence to say, ‘I’m not going to be able to fit that in until xxx,’ generally speaking – if it’s not mission critical, nobody bats an eyelid. Not everything on your workload is mission critical. You’re not the president.
🛫 communicate + delegate
Build the time in to prepare your team well for while you’re away. Remind them that you have confidence in them to act on your behalf. I remember an old boss putting our minds at rest for when we were deputising for her – she would always say that whatever decision we made in her absence, as long as it was legal (!) she would back us up and support us entirely. If there were things that she would have handled differently, then that would be a separate development conversation. You’ve got to release staff to have a go and be trusted when you’re OOO.
🛫liberate yourself and leave things unfinished
It’s become a relenting pressure to have an empty in box and to-do list when we switch off our computers for a break. It’s a lovely ideal and I get why we like it. But the problem is, that to get to that ideal we go without sleep, work at breakneck speed and potentially make errors (and act increasingly cranky with those around us). Can I let you into a secret? You may have turned your laptop off with an empty inbox, but, the rest of the world is going to keep on going and will happily fill up your to-dos and inbox with new priorities the second you turn it off. Your empty list isn’t empty anymore. Liberate yourself from this unrealistic pressure and resist the temptation to get all things done. Go on. You can do it.