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12/22/2014 9:11:10 PM

Switch off, it’s Christmas!

In a recent blog we discussed the positive impact of a healthy work-life balance, never more important than at this time of year.

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, chances are you will get the opportunity for some well-deserved ‘downtime’ in the days to come. We all work very hard so time away from the workplace is extremely precious.

This week we encourage you to ignore the inbox, log-off and power down with some tips to really make the most of this special time of year.

Trouble logging off?

For many people, taking a real break from work can be incredibly challenging. Last minute crises. Colleagues needing your help. Workplace incidents. Late night deadlines. Unexpected problems or urgent requests can interfere with an individual’s ability to let go outside of work, potentially ruining what should be a relaxing Christmas break.

Our own high standards and the ‘never enough hours in the day’ mindset can also spoil time off. Do you find the urge to check your inbox irresistible? How many times have you taken work home with you? Do you work late more often than you leave on time?

You might not realise it but we are a nation of workaholics. For a healthy work-life balance to be struck this must stop.

Tops tips for time off

Are you guilty of denying yourself some precious downtime?

          Are you the type of person who feels compelled to check-in with work constantly?

If so, read on:

Don’t be a Scrooge. Just because you keep working when the office is closed for the holidays, it doesn’t necessarily mean your co-workers will too. It’s unreasonable to assume that other people are prepared to sacrifice their time with family and friends when many only get to see each other at Christmas. If you’re constantly thinking about work, keep a pen and paper handy. You can jot down ideas and tasks that need doing when you get back without irritating friends and family.

Allow yourself some breathing room. No-one can operate at maximum output round the clock, so with businesses powering down for the year, make the most of some quality downtime as well. To function efficiently your brain needs time to rest and this won’t happen if you’re constantly bombarding it with new information. Christmas is often viewed as a period of reflection, not just for personal development, but professional, too. If you find yourself itching to get work done while the family sleep off another round of mince pies, do something vaguely related to work: watch a documentary or read an article concerning your professional sector.

Be vigilant. It’s well and good making a commitment to abstain from all things work-related, but you won’t feel the benefit if you insist on checking in. Your colleagues have your details, so you can rest assured that someone will contact you if there is a critical situation. We all like to think we’re invaluable to our workplace but for most of us taking time off won’t create a life or death situation - yes, the team can survive without you!

Establish some solid boundaries. There may be others in the office who are equally keen to keep on top of work during their time off, but it’s important that everyone understands when you will and won’t be available. If you are really clear, people will have accurate expectations, and won’t contact you needlessly.

Trying to ‘switch off’ over Christmas can be difficult for those of us who are committed to our careers. Absence creates anxiety; the worry that your business tasks aren’t being taken care of. Reassure yourself; if you’re truly devoted to the success of your career, it’s unlikely to fall apart during a week off.

This Christmas, give yourself a gift and invest in some wonderful memories with friends and family… oh, and turn that phone off!

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