Plan and prepare
It sounds obvious but prepping for leave goes beyond your OOO and handover notes. If you know everything is in safe hands, you're free to wind-down and switch off. Part of a small team? Make sure you time your break when you know the right people will be in the office to take the reins. At a critical point in a project? Don't try and hide your absence from clients, you'll struggle to switch off. Let them know who will be steering the work and why they are best placed to deliver. Worried about your workload when you're back? Map out your return, prioritise tasks, and block out your diary for key catch-ups.
Trust your team
‘Contact me if anything major happens’ – it might seem like you’re providing vital support but you could hamper their decision-making. If you can, block out the day before your break to have comprehensive catch-ups with each of your senior team. Scenario plan for any possible challenges and make sure they know you have confidence in them to deliver while you’re away. It’s natural to think we’re indispensable, but you’ve employed each member of your team for a reason. Hovering in the background while you’re on leave can make them doubt their judgement – empower them to make the right calls.
Take control of your phone
When we're struggling to step away just seeing an app or a rogue notification can be a trigger. Remove apps from your home screen, silence or even delete email accounts, it's super simple to reinstall them when you return. This goes beyond specific work apps, consider the impact of things like LinkedIn, social feeds and even news channels if you’re really focused on getting time out. If you really can’t take a total break from checking in try setting aside ten minutes a day to satisfy your curiosity and avoid endless scrolling.