The holidays are just around the corner. Are you one of those people who work through the holiday, or do you want time off? I vote for taking time to enjoy family, friends and holiday plans. To enjoy the holidays and not become over-stressed by the pile up on my desk, I try to plan ahead.

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I’ve discovered a  few tricks over the years that help me remain sane and not worry about what will appear in the office after I take time off. By being organized before I go, I find that I am a lot more relaxed and can enjoy my time off. Here are 4 tips to help you plan for time off.

1. Organize Before You Go

Go through your mail. Make lists of the things that have to completed prior  to taking your time off and let everyone know that you will not be available at least two weeks ahead of time. This allows planning on the part of your clients. Also consider that they too, may be taking the holidays off. Organizing ahead of time will allow you and your clients to be prepared. Remember, don’t work harder, work smarter.

2. Set Priorities

You need to keep in perspective what is important and what can wait. Set priorities before you leave on what needs to be done when you come back. What does this do for you? It allows you to get a jump start on your  activities the first minutes that you are back at your desk. There is little down time trying to organize your thoughts.

3. Plan Ahead for Issues

Things will happen while you are taking time off. How you plan and handle these situations should be determined prior to your time off. Do you have back-up people in place? Can you rotate with another cohort that will cover you for a few days with you reciprocate during your break? Remember, holidays are not usually like a vacation. This time of year, most people take the same days off, so finding a person to share coverage may provide both of you with back-up.

4. Clear Your Calendar

Make sure that all appointments are completed 2-3 days before you leave. This will ensure that any projects that come up will have enough time for completion. Also, do not schedule appointments for the first few days that you return. This allows you to get organized and gradually get back into the groove of work.

Remember, your business needs you at your best, and you won’t be if you are neglecting your family or friends and not taking care of yourself. By taking time to enjoy the holidays, you are allowing yourself time to recharge.

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