Finally, your holiday is here! Whether you are spending time with your family at home or jetting off to warmer climates, there is one thing which you will want to do- minimise the amount of your precious time spent responding to work requests. After all, this is your free time to use how and where you want.

Before you hit the road, preparation is key to ensuring your holiday is as relaxing as possible. A smoother transition from work to play is what you require, and even better, will make returning to work a less painful experience for all. Sound good to you?

Here are 8 steps which will give you peace of mind when you leave the office.

1.       Review your to do lists

There is nothing worse than having something hang over you when you are meant to be having a good time. Make a list of what you’d like to get done before you leave the office, and be realistic. This is where prioritising comes in, focus on the most urgent deadlines first.

2.       Catch up with your colleagues

If your holiday is over the Christmas period, typically there won’t be many around to cover your work. However, always sit down with your team before leaving the office for a considerable amount of time so everyone knows the score. If there will be someone taking on your workload, be kind and offer some helpful hints, and of course, offer to repay the favour at a later date.

3.       Clear your inbox

A busy inbox= a busy mind. To avoid feeling overwhelmed upon your return, and to help resist the temptation of checking your emails during your holiday, make sure that you action each and every email which enters your inbox, even if it means staying in the office a little longer than you usually would. While you are at it, unsubscribe to any mailing lists which are just causing noise in your inbox.

4.       Make information easily available to you should you need to work remotely

Should something urgent crop up, or you have opted to work from home to ease yourself back into office life, to prevent having to return to the office prematurely make sure that you have any files or documents which you might need within easy reach. Make a list of any contact names and numbers too.

5.       Tidy your desk

Nothing will make returning to work more depressing than a desk littered with paperwork. Leave your desk neat and tidy and accessible for others to find paperwork if necessary. You’ll never know, it may even encourage you to keep it up even when the holiday seems like a distant memory.

6.       Start any projects in advance

If by chance you have some extra time to spare before leaving the office, take this opportunity to get ahead with any projects due when you come back. This will make the mountain of work less intimidating and make it easier to get the ball rolling upon your return.

7.       Set your out of office

The out of office, always everyone’s fun part where it all starts to feel real. Short and sweet is always appreciated but a few more details won’t hurt. Let people know when you are going, when you will be back, who to contact in your absence and whether or not you will have access to your mail. Don’t forget about your voicemail too.

8.       Leave your stress behind

You’ve done it, it’s time to relax. You might find it difficult to switch off at first, but remember that the world (and office!) won’t fall apart without you, so put your feet up and take it easy. Your work alarm will come round again soon enough!

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