How to properly switch off from work on holiday

We all look forward to a holiday, but how often do we really, truly get away from it all? Are we sneakily checking in to ensure we keep on top of things? Are we just slow burning rather than switching off? The key to success is self-discipline

  1. Eyes on the horizon
    Not the one beyond the beach, but the deadlines after you return from your holiday. During the few weeks before you go, get as much done as you can, to ensure you are well on the way to meeting them when you get back. Get ahead early, then relax.
  2. Keep things in perspective
    Remember, you're only one person and the whole place does go on without you. No individual – even a CEO – carries an entire organisation, especially for only a couple of weeks. Make a list of the worst things that can happen as a result of your not being there, divide the number of items by two. And breathe.
  3. Set expectations
    When liaising with those who are taking on your responsibilities, write things down and ask them to play back what they are picking up on your behalf. Make it clear that you will ask them for a summary on your return. For everyone else, let them know how long you are away and that you have delegated to others (say whom). Emergencies happen, so you may have to leave a number, but only with one person whom others can reach centrally. Be disciplined; switch off means switch off, so don't check in. This undermines the person covering your role and, apart from anything else, it's disrespectful.
  4. Don't be a hero
    There are no prizes for the person who never switches off just so they can show others how committed they really are. What are you trying to prove and to whom?  Is it really just insecurity? If you have paid holiday time, it's there for several reasons, so take it

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