Taking a break? 7 Quick Tips to Switch Off and Recharge

With Easter coming up, there’s definitely a ‘quick, get stuff done’ feeling in the air today. Whether you’re taking a 4 day weekend off or a full two weeks of school holidays, how do you make the most of your break? How do you make sure you actually switch off and give your batteries a chance to recharge?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Here are 7 quick tips that came into my head (because I’m busy finishing stuff off today too!):

1. Social media blackout

Take a Twitter time out or Facebook fast. A change is as good as a rest right? So give yourself a break from being constantly digitally connected. A break can be a couple of hours, a couple of days or a couple of weeks. If you suspect you might be a little bit more than ‘connected’ and leaning towards ‘addicted’ you might want to make a change that slightly outside your comfort zone – like this one I’ve been doing for the past month.

2. Set your email out of office

We’ve all got better things to be doing than wondering if someone got your email, or worrying that someone’s wondering if you got their email. Give yourself and your contacts that assurance that yes their email has arrived, and when you’re likely to respond. You can include emergency contacts if that’s useful for your business.Even if you might pop in and out of the ‘office’, if the shop’s shut to the public, tell them it’s shut. Set clear expectations for when normal service will return, and make sure you switch off (or change) the out of office notice on that day. If your out of office’s are regularly out of date, people will start to ignore them.

3. Brain dump 

Everything you’ve yet to do or think about. Stuff that’s not finished, stuff that’s not started, things you need to follow up on, bits of information you’ve collected over the past week and need to process, nagging thoughts and brilliant ideas – write it all down, brain dump it, then leave it.

Go to your diary, block out 1-2 hours first thing on the day you return, and use that time to make sense of it, organise, plan, prioritise etc.

Or

4. Do your weekly review now

Before you switch off. Stop working. Get yourself up to speed with where all your projects and tasks are, plan your priorities for the first day back – leaving plenty of margin for the unexpected that might crop up between now and then – so that you can switch off, knowing that when you’re back you can hit the ground running.

And when you’re on holiday

5. Go out, leave your phone 

…on silent / in your bag / in the car / at home. It’s amazing how naked this can feel at first. And how creative your imagination can be at conjuring disaster scenarios of what you might miss, which usually turns out to be a bit of an anti-climax when you come back to it.

My friend Carrie Wilkerson, does this deliberately when she goes for a lunch date with her husband. She’ll put her phone in the glove box and ask her husband to remind her that’s where she left it, which also means he knows he’s got her full attention. Accountability and brownie points. I like her style.

6. Leave your phone on charge downstairs

…at night, rather than by the bed. It’s not like you need an alarm during the holidays anyway, right? Enjoy those morning moments of waking up to your own thoughts and company, rather than to someone else’s news. Same goes for a radio alarm, if you normally wake up to the news or traffic reports. Switch it off – you’re on holiday!

7. Make plans

Get the kids together and draw up a menu, map or mission plan of what you want to do, could do and might do during the holidays. We like to get a big sheet of paper onto the kitchen table, with a load of coloured pens, and let everyone write or draw their ideas onto the plan.

Give yourself plenty of choice – indoor and outdoor activities, things to do together or on your own, supervised and independent fun – to avoid that “I’m bored…what are we doing today?” conversation. Get everyone into the habit of making their own fun instead of waiting for something to happen.

What do you think? What tips would you add? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below!

  • Brilliant advice as always, Grace, I will definitely be following it over the next two weeks!

  • Grace I have had a very long break and so tonight is all about planinng how this week is going to look. I am getting all my small weekly tasks done so tomorrow I can be project specific and get cracking. I find prepping the night before gets me focussed and not losing time back at work.

    • Brilliant Naomi – in the words of A. A. Milne (of Winnie the Pooh fame), “Organising is what you do before you do something so that when you do it, it’s not all mixed up!”

  • I like 5 and 6 (nervously twitches)

    • Lol! Yup – for the first time today I left the house without checking my email *gasp* – and didn’t really think about it until driving back at 5pm, wondering what awaited me. Got back. Checked. Lots of mail. Nothing spectacular. Apart from a lovely email from my coach that is. 🙂

  • Grace – some great ideas there, and I especially like the idea of disconnecting from your Digital world regularly. I tried disconnecting for 24 hours recently – no telephone, no Internet – and guess what? The world kept turning! I blogged about my experiences at http://www.tubblog.co.uk/blog/2014/03/08/what-is-it-like-to-disconnect-from-the-internet-for-a-day/

    • Richard, thanks for sharing your experiences – I can definitely relate. Screen free time definitely helps to refresh my brain, but I do still have to get over that bit of resistance and anxiety first – it’s like going to the gym!

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