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Five Simple Tips For A Stress-Free Holiday

940 529 Clare Evans, Personal and Business Coach


In a few weeks or maybe even days, many of you will be heading off for a summer break.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed In the time leading up to a break as you try to clear your workload, manage multiple projects and head off with a clear desk and your handover completed.

Avoid the stress of last minute panic, working long hours and general chaos in the last few days by following these five tips.

Plan ahead – What needs to be done over the next few weeks and when are you going to do it? Plan 2 to 3 weeks before your holiday so you have to time to organise your workload and schedule accordingly.

Keep the week or 2-3 days before your last day in the office as free as possible. Avoid overbooking your diary with too many meetings in this week. You may not have enough time for all the follow-ups and actions needed or expected before you leave and you’ll end up with even more to handover.

Prioritise – the ‘important’ things you need to work on before you leave. Don’t leave them to the last day or your last few hours. If you’re pushed for time, what are the priority tasks you need to complete to keep things moving while you’re away? What can wait until you get back and is there anything that’s likely to slip through?

Set time limits on tasks. You’ll get things done quicker and be less distracted, especially if you only have a limited amount of time available.

Delegate – What’s going to happen to your business or workload while you’re away? Who’s going to answer calls, respond to emails, look after your clients, customers and projects? If you need extra resources, ask in good time.

Remember to switch on your voicemail and/or ‘out of office’ message (and switch it off when you return – make a note in your diary).

Handover – Set up a handover meeting(s) with your team or direct reports a day or two before your last day in the office.

If you have the right systems and processes in place it will be easy to provide status updates and keep track of projects and expected actions while you’re away.

Communicate – Let your team, customers and clients know when you’re going to be away and for how long. Give them and yourself plenty of time if you’re expecting work from them or need to get information, updates to them before you go.

And finally …

You holiday is meant to be a break from work – unless you’ve specifically booked it as a working holiday and your family or friends are in agreement, avoid the temptation to work while you’re away. While a cursory check of emails may be needed or you might be contacted in an emergency – focus on your family and friends first.

If you find you often spend the first few days of your holiday feeling unwell, exhausted or ill, you way be suffering from adrenal rebound. It will take you longer to relax, unwind and enjoy your holiday.

If you’re in the habit of spending much of your intended ‘holiday’ working, it’s an indication that something’s missing or needs to change. You need to look more seriously at your time habits, your boundaries and priorities.


On your return:

• Don’t overload your first few days back at work.
• Allow time for planning and catch-up on your first day back.
• Book handover/update meetings with your team.

If you want to enjoy a stress-free holiday and be more in control of your workload but don’t know where to start – give me a call or book a time for us to chat and make your next holiday even more relaxed and stress-free.


Top 7 Time Management Tips for Lawyers

1005 1024 Clare Evans, Personal and Business Coach


When there’s too much to do and not enough time is when you need to be effective and take control of your time and improve your time habits.

Top 7 Time Management Tips

When there’s too much to do and not enough time is when you need to be effective and take control of your time and improve your time habits.

1. Plan

If you want to make the biggest difference to your productivity, plan your time.

  • Time to plan – just 10-15 minutes each day to plan your tasks and actions for the day. The more often you do it, the quicker you get.
  • Plan a few days ahead, so you know what’s coming up.  You’re more likely to remember things if you’re refreshing your memory each day.
  • One diary – Keep ALL your appointments in one place – work and personal.  You won’t miss important events and avoid last minute juggling or cancellations.
  • Book time for your tasks – emails, phone calls, writing a report, research etc. not just for meetings and appointments.  Group similar tasks together.

2. Systems and Priorities.


Create systems to make life easier.  Simple things like files and folders to organise your email and paperwork.  Do your filing on a regular basis.  Keep your work/living space clear and uncluttered.  Find a system that works for you and the way you work.

Make the best use of your time by focusing on what’s important.  Organise tasks and actions into order of priority.  Spend your time focusing on high priority tasks to avoid them becoming urgent.

Break larger tasks into smaller ones.  If you’re often working on ‘urgent’ tasks – find out why.  What causes the urgency – lack of time, poor prioritisation, other people’s deadlines?

Be realistic about what you can achieve.  Don’t create a list with so many tasks you know you can’t do them all.

3. Delegate.

The busier you are the more you need to delegate.  Spend your time on important tasks that no one else can do rather than day-to-day tasks.

Delegate tasks someone can do quicker, more easily and possibly better and more cost effectively than you.  Hand over routine tasks that aren’t your main skill set.  If you delegate your time, you’ll free up more time for yourself and your business.

4. Distractions and interruptions.

You’d get more done if you didn’t keep getting distracted or interrupted.  Whether it’s emails, phone calls or people stopping by your office, interruptions are part of every working day.

  • Switch off the phone or put it through to the answer machine or voice mail.
  • Book a meeting room, use an empty office or go to a different location if you want some undisturbed time – you’ll be interrupted less and get more done.
  • No meetings without an appointment – avoid impromptu drop-ins.

If you do get interrupted, arrange a time to talk later.  Put a time limit on the interruption if you have to deal with it there and then.

5. Learn to say No!

Busy people often say yes to everything. Learning to say “No” can be useful in getting back in control of your time. Be clear and direct.

If you keep saying yes, you’ll end up working late just to get everything done. You’re more likely to end up stressed and overworked.

Don’t say yes immediately, especially when you don’t know what you’re taking on.

Find ways of saying no without being harsh or abrupt. Give a reason without the need to go into lengthy, long-winded, rambling explanation or excuses.

6. Manage your emails

Email can be one of the biggest drains on our time. Particularly if you’re constantly checking your inbox. Unless they’re critical part of your work, they rarely need to be responded to immediately.

  • Switch off the alert for new messages
  • Set your email to only check for messages every couple of hours
  • Check your emails only two or three times a day.
  • Set aside time to read and respond to email.
  • Use filters and folders to organise incoming emails.

DON’T check your emails throughout the day and limit the amount of time you spend on emails.

7. Taking Breaks

Even if you’re busy, take regular breaks. How often do you work through your lunch break?

Take a break every hour for a few minutes and a longer break every few hours. You will be fresher and better able to concentrate.

I you can, get some fresh air and exercise at lunch-time. Don’t rely on stimulants to give you a boost when you’re flagging. Take a break and do something different – even switching from one type of task to another.

These simple but effective tips will get you back on track and in control of your time.