Take Back Your Long Weekend

easter bunnyIt’s been a hectic start to the year for most people, and with the Easter Break upon us, many people are breathing a sigh of relief and looking forward to recharging their batteries.

Whether you are taking the standard four days off for the extra-long weekend, or logging some annual leave for an even longer break, here are five things you need to do to make the most of your downtime, and come back to the office recharged and ready to dominate the next quarter.

1)   Free Your Mind

In these short breaks, many people get away from the office, but their brains are still filled with the things they have to do. The best way to fight this is to make a plan. Write down the five or six key things that need to get done and book a specific time to do them when you get back – actually write it in your calendar. Our brains treat things that we’ve scheduled to do, as if they are already done.

2)   Make sure your team’s on track

If you manage a team and you are going to be away for a bit longer, have a meeting today and go through the key things that need to get done while you’re away. Book in a time when you get back for the team to report on their progress and be specific about what you want them to report.

3)   Slow down

It’s easy to try to cram everything humanly possible into a short break. Rushing around getting things done (even if you like doing them) can actually still be a form of stress. Combat this by finding 20-30 minutes a day when you just slow down. You might read a book, listen to music, or take a slow walk on the beach. These are the things that greatly neutralize that stress that’s been building up over the last few months.

4)   Reduce e-Clutter

If you can, de-activate that work email account on your smartphone and just keep your personal email account active (if this is a way your friends stay in touch). If you find this impossible, then allocate specific times that will be ‘technology free’. Maybe leave that phone and email at home for the first half of the day, but allow yourself to check-in after lunch.

5)   Quality Time

Finally, make sure you actually plan your time to do the quality things that you don’t get a chance to do during the work week. Don’t just do the normal things, but take some time and plan quality activities – whether it’s with friends, family, or by yourself.