How you can make it easy to take a break

Make time take a breakGoing on holiday is generally a good idea.  If you aren’t convinced by that have a read of my last blog – hopefully it will change your mind.  When you have a family going away, or at least having a few days off, is practically compulsory.

Of course, knowing that you’re going to take a break is one thing.  Making the time to take a break is quite another.  That pre-holiday cramming period is all too familiar to many of us.

How will you make it work?  How can you take a break without spending your whole holiday worrying about what’s happening to your business?

Don’t panic

The absolute worst thing you can do before your holiday is get into a panic because there’s too much to do.  Panicking makes you spend time dotting from one task to another without any sense of what’s important. The next thing you know, a couple of hours have gone by and you have no idea whether you’ve accomplished anything.  Changing your focus between different tasks quickly is known as context switching and it steals time.  If you lose focus in the middle of a task because you’ve jumped to something else it can take you up to 25 minutes to get back into the task you were originally doing.  That’s a lot of time to lose when you’re on a tight deadline.

Take a deep breath and make a list of all the essential things that need doing before you go.  Then make a separate list of things that need to happen when you’re away.  This should only include things that you can’t do in advance.

Make a plan

Once you have your list, mark everything that only you can do.  That may be everything, but be realistic.  Just because you’re used to doing everything doesn’t mean you have to.

Then, next to each task, write down how long it’s going to take you.  If there’s something that will take a while it can help to break it down into smaller chunks.  For example, when I write a blog post there are a series of smaller steps that go into it.  I think up a topic, work out what points I want to make and sketch out some sub headings before I sit down to write.  Then before I publish I need to edit the piece and choose an image.  After that I might even have to edit it again for SEO or to make it look better on the page.

Giving yourself a smaller task with a realistic time frame works wonders for your productivity.  I have friends who swear by the Pomodoro technique, where you work in 25 minute chunks then have a five minute break.  There is an app available but you can do it yourself with a timer.  Knowing that you’re on the clock means that you focus.  Then at the end of the day you’ve got a satisfying list of completed tasks.

Get help

Never be afraid to delegate.  Even if you are your business there are people who will help you on temporary basis.  That could be friends and family.  Alternatively, if you know a good VA, get in touch with them.  You don’t always have to sign up to a lengthy contract.

Talk to your customers

If your holiday is going to affect delivery times or if you need to delegate, let your customers know.  Most people won’t begrudge you a holiday.  And if they do, you might want to question whether they’re your ideal customer.

Are you getting ready to take a break?  Any favourite productivity tips?  Drop me a comment and let me know!

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