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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.


How Do I Prioritise When It’s All Important?

140 98 Clare Evans, Personal and Business Coach




When you have too much to do, you can’t expect to do it all, however important it all seems.  You need to ensure that you’re making the best use of your time by focusing on what’s important rather than constantly focusing or reacting to what’s urgent.

Get out of reactive mode. Avoid being under the control of everyone or everything else. Start taking control of your time.

Make a list. Start by writing down everything you need to do.

Initially this can seem overwhelming but you need to get it out of your head, off all those post-its and scraps of paper and into one place where you can start making sense of them all and start planning your time.

Prioritise your tasks and actions.

Not all tasks have equal importance. Not all tasks will contribute to the results you want. Think 80/20 – 80% of your results will come from 20% of your tasks/effort.

Take a look at all the tasks currently on your list or projects you have underway.

• What are your goals or objectives for this week, month or year?
• Which of these tasks will directly contribute to the results you want?

Organise your tasks into low, medium or high priority. Which ones are urgent, which are important? Use numbers, colours or other ways to help you prioritise your list.

“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important” – Dwight Eisenhower

You may already be familiar with the Eisenhower Matrix – Urgent vs Important. Organise your tasks into Urgent vs Important. (If you’d like a copy of the Eisenhower Matrix – drop me an email and I’ll send it to you along with tips on how to organise your tasks.)

Decide what action you’re going to take for each task:

Do it now.
Decide when you’re going to do it.
Delegate it to someone better able
Dump/Delete it.

If you find you’re often reacting to the latest, email, phone call or interruption or you always seem to be working on ‘urgent’ tasks – what makes them urgent?

Some things may be outside of your control – like other people’s deadlines or their lack of planning but there is usually something you can do or change to prevent this from happening too often.

Most urgent tasks can be avoided with better planning. Spend most of your time focusing on the high priority, important tasks and you’ll avoid them becoming urgent.

Daily actions. Having prioritised and organised your list, write down what you need to do today.

Make sure you complete at least one of your high priority, important tasks each day so you can keep moving forward and getting the right results.

Avoid spending your time working on lower priority tasks or wasting time on tasks that are neither important or urgent. Email often falls in to this category. Most people give far too high a priority and spend too much time dealing with their Inbox.

Be realistic about what you can achieve. Don’t create a daily list with so many tasks on, you know you won’t be able to complete them all.

Write down only what you absolutely need to get done each day. If you overload your daily action list, you’ll just get frustrated and de-motivated.

Spend an appropriate amount of time on the task in hand. There’s no benefit in spending a large amount of time on what is a relatively minor or unimportant task or getting too bogged down in detail.

Set time limits and completion times against tasks and projects and check-in regularly throughout the day to make sure you’re on track.

Be flexible. Life happens and sometimes you can’t avoid the urgent creeping up or getting side-swiped by something unexpected.

If you manage your priorities better and organise your time more effectively, you’ll be better able to adjust and make changes as new or different priorities come up.