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How to make time for a holiday this summer

Amy Milchard

 

By Amy Milchard – Pink Spaghetti Sheffield

 

If the anticipation of the holiday season is starting to create some stress and tension, make sure you keep things ticking over while you’re away. Take some well-earned time off with some good old planning.

Before you delegate

Take some time now to think about not just what is coming up, but how you do it. How long it takes you – calculate it in hours. Would someone else need additional resources to get it done? Would you be better sharing the duty between two people? Sounds really obvious! But in lots of situations people are expected to do another person’s job as well as their own which can cause problems. Two people means a more realistic workload and they will hold each other accountable in your absence.

If you are in an agile business you regularly review what you do. If not, roughly two months before your holiday, start to map out the capacity required to do the duties that normally fall to you as you are doing them. Doing the planning in real time means you aren’t doing it in a rush or state of panic. You’ll notice more of the areas that could cause a slip up. Chipping away at the handover plan bit by bit over the next few weeks means it’s a lot easier to delegate when you need to.

Need to map your processes to share with others? Try Xmind https://www.xmind.net/

How to delegate

Don’t be too nice and give people only part of a job. You’ll have even more to come back to. And don’t hold onto the reigns too tightly and presume others can’t do what you do. It may take them longer or it may take two people to do it but if you don’t let people take something on for you, it just sits there waiting for you.

Ask for help and offer development opportunities to those who are ready for it. If they do a good job while you’re away, you have an extra level of resource in the making.

Why not save time and create video guides. If you use Zoom to video call, you can also record the conversations. It maybe that you can use it to record a handover meeting or webinar that can also be used as a how-to guide while you’re away. The screen sharing function could be really useful for walking someone through a system. Click here to go to Zoom .

Communicate

Draw your lines – give everyone a clear notice period of when you’re preparing to go on leave rather than get to the last day and simply switch your out of office on. You might need to do more than just have it on a shared calendar for other people to really take notice of the fact that you’re going on leave.

(Don’t be that person who can’t stop going on about your holiday however!)

Communicate with your team or clients to map resources and priorities, and take it on the chin, the priorities may not be set by you! If your absence creates a busy period, make sure you and they understand the business priorities that carry the greatest value. And if you start the conversation early (around 6 weeks) people have more opportunity to think through the scenario and come up with options themselves.

If you work alone, if you’re very lucky you may have clients who would accept a how to guide and take on their own work for a very short period! If not, could you temporarily outsource? Ask for recommendations for services from your Linked In network, people are more than happy to make suggestions.

Negotiate

Don’t be afraid to negotiate, sometimes things will just have to run on a skeleton service therefore key tasks will be maintained, and others may not. Make sure everyone accepts and understands the agreement so you don’t come back to any unhappiness. You could have a small amount of capacity for over and above what you set out but don’t set false expectations.

If you really think people may get stuck, have a cloud-based storage or collaboration system that delivers notifications to your phone via an app if someone leaves you a comment. There are many to choose from, but Dropbox . Click here to go to Dropbox

for file sharing and Zoho. Click here to go to Zoho

for projects are great. It will make the conversation more specific, and you can choose to check notifications only once a day while you’re away (or set them to only be turned on for set period each day). It means you don’t check your emails, so you only look at a relevant and specific message.

Priorities

Having someone else give you their opinion of the priorities can bring up surprising revelations about what your most important function is! It’s actually helpful for decision making in the future when you’re under pressure to prioritise.

As per any period, planning in time blocks to tackle projects, holding regular meetings early or moving others to after your return creates the space you need to get more done before you go away. Cancel all unnecessary meetings or convert them to shorter telephone meetings to save travel time as well.

Or, get ahead by scheduling extra posts for your social media to give you an edge for when you return. You could take advantage of the free 30day trial of Hootsuite Professional or Business level Click here for Hootsuite with additional capacity for scheduled posts so that you don’t need to worry about it when you get back. Then cancel it when you get close to the deadline. You don’t; lose the posts that are in, you just won’t be able to add any more until you’re under 30 again.

There are lots of things you can do but most of them, in essence, come down to planning well in advance, communicating early and clearly, and being realistic!

Bonus Tips: If you want to save time on holiday try Waze app for identifying traffic hotspots in an unknown area, updated by local drivers https://www.waze.com/en-GB/, try Pack Point for your packing lists https://www.packpnt.com/ and let TripIt take care of your itinerary and tell you if things are delayed! https://www.tripit.com/

 

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