The school holidays have begun and with it, our thoughts have turned to the annual summer trip. Whether using vacation days accrued through your employer or taking time out from your own business, there is something about summer holidays which lead us to believe *this* will be the holiday which changes our life. We count the days down to those magical weeks which will see us return glowing with health and energy: the best possible version of ourselves. And it’s not just our appearance which will improve, but our entire approach to life. More organised, more relaxed, more creative. Yet how many times have you actually sat by the pool worrying about what disaster you will come back to when you return to the office?
At NMIOB, we strongly believe that a rest is crucial to keeping you and your work thriving. We also don’t believe that two weeks in a hotel on Costa Del Somewhere will suddenly turn your life 180. However, the opportunity to step back from your day-to-day work can play a part in helping you figure out your next steps if you’ve been feeling some unhappiness in your job. Below we make suggestions for realistic steps to utilise your holiday time and take stock of your life and career.
Preparation Preparation Preparation
Before even packing your suitcase, make sure your out-of-office is switched on making it clear exactly what people contacting you can expect whilst you are away. Are you completely out-of-reach (which is okay!) or will you check in once every few days? Who, if anyone, will be taking over your work? Making this clear to your colleagues and clients manages expectations and will also alleviate those feelings of guilt you may have over taking time for yourself.
Next, are there any inspiring books/articles/blog posts you’ve been wanting to read for a while? Load up your Kindle, update your Bloglovin’ and pack those magazines. Having proper time to digest what you’re reading allows the words you are reading to connect more with your own experiences and your brain to start making connections it can’t when you’re speed-reading on the tube to work. If you’re after a little guidance, we recommend 'Designing Your Life: Build a Life that Works for You’ by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans to help you pick out the common threads in activities you enjoy and ‘designing’ a job and life which uses them. You can also never go wrong with a Richard Branson autobiography for an instant hit of inspiring business talk. Each month, we give away a top-rated business book on NMIOB - have a look here if you want some suggestions.
Finally, use the time before you go away to tie up any loose ends: outstanding invoices to pay or chase; replenishing stock; replying to neglected emails; organising a staff rota, etc. Just imagine relaxing with a glass of wine without the thought of, ‘Must pay that invoice as soon as I’m back’ hanging over you. It will make your holiday experience one you are actually able to relax into. As an added bonus, do a good clear-out of your desk/office-space before you head off - your future self will be thankful to return to a tidy environment.
Be mindful of your temporary new environment: notice whether you behave any differently. Without the routine of your week, are you more likely to take photographs, do more exercise (there’s nothing like a cool pool on a warm day to increase your enthusiasm for swimming) or try something completely different? Maybe you just enjoy being in charge of the itinerary instead of having directions handed down by your manager. Are these activities or observations something you could bring into your life back home in some way? Sometimes we just need a small jumpstart to bring about a bigger change.
Unplug your headphones and cast your mind back over the year so far. Work-wise, what have you worked on that you’ve been particularly proud of? Can you pick out what it was about that work which led to this pride? Was it that you did a great job managing a team; you achieved success in something new or which you’ve previously struggled with or something different? Make time to give yourself a little pat on the back and remember the good points of the work you do, which are so often forgotten in the day to day minutiae.
If you’re holidaying with people who know you well, ask them for some honest opinions about your strengths and weaknesses, plus if there are other jobs they can see you doing or ways you can improve what you already offer. Asking people you don’t work with in a no-pressure situation may bring up some surprises - perhaps a career they think you’d be suited for that you’ve never considered before.
Before you return
Notice how you feel about your impending return to work. Do you have new projects you’re excited to get underway? Perhaps you’ve just really missed your colleagues and can’t wait to share stories from your trip. Or is there is a growing sense of dread about being back in the office? If the latter is how you’re feeling, try to pinpoint exactly why returning to your job bothers you so much. The stress/the environment/a lack of rewards for your hard work? Working with a coach can help you come up with an action plan so you never need to feel that despondent in your work life again and you can enjoy your future holidays fully!
Get in touch for a free coaching call to see how we can help you!
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