Writing this blog post is on my list of things to get done today, as I leave the office for a holiday break, so I don’t have to work during my time off. However, being the AgCareers.com employee that I am (and I know many of my coworkers would agree with me), I intend to bring my laptop home over my break to tend to some small duties while absent from the office. I wouldn’t say that I struggle unplugging from work, but at times, like during my two-week vacation this summer, I wonder why I can never just totally leave work at the office.
Google unplugging from work and you’re sure to find many research-backed articles explaining the benefits of taking time away from your computer such as an increase in productivity and creativity when you return. It’s true; I often feel recharged and ready to tackle challenges after I’ve stepped away from my desk for a time. Soaking up time with your families and friends, pursuing outside hobbies and interests, and simply relaxing instead of worrying about what emails may be coming in is not only healthy for us but also for those around us and our relationships. It all sounds good, right? And deep down, we know we all want that feeling of revitalization and peace of mind to just let go of work.
If only it were that simple, you may be thinking. Well, it can be. Here are some tips for unplugging from work over the holidays or a vacation:
- Prioritize your time at work to get done what you need to before a break. Get tasks that you can get done prior to your break organized or completed in a timely manner before you leave. For example, I get all my social media posts scheduled before I leave for a significant amount of time and clear up any tasks that need to be completed before my time off if I can. If you have a routine, this might prove to be difficult, as this step calls for some shifting of responsibilities.
- If you can’t get it all done, delegate it. It’s okay! Oftentimes, your coworkers will be happy to take on an extra task or two if it means you’re totally unplugging from work. You might feel bad or feel like it will take more time to teach them something, but it’s just necessary sometimes to pass things on. Work out a plan for you to take on things for your coworker in a future absence of theirs to pay back the favor. If your absence occurs during the holidays when your coworkers are also likely to be gone, this won’t always work, so simply prioritize items to get done before or after your break, or delete them from your schedule.
- Reschedule. Have a commitment scheduled during your break? It’s okay to reschedule and move things around. It might be inconvenient to others, but as long as you don’t make it a regular thing, it shouldn’t be a huge deal.
- Turn off devices and notifications during times with loved ones. I was recently at a conference where the speaker expressed sadness that she doesn’t remember Christmases with her grandmother because she was always in the kitchen baking or cleaning. Similarly, if you’re a workaholic and simply can’t disconnect from work, your family will likely have the same impression of you some day. It’s okay to bring your work home, but like you prioritize things at work, prioritize your work when it’s not at the expense of those around you. To avoid distraction and temptation, turn off email notifications and set your computer in a place where you can come back to it later.
- Can’t resist unplugging from work? Keep it to a minimum. This holiday break, I’m really going to try to refrain from any lengthy duty or work. I’m just going to be completing small tasks that can be accomplished in minutes. I have other things I’ve been wanting some time to do and people to enjoy being with. And you do too. Work can wait.
Looking for some pointers to de-stress during the holidays? Check out this article from AgCareers.com’s Newsletter Archives.