Summer Breeze

A close up of corn in a field with blue sky in the background

Reflections on the Build-Up to a Holiday

As Summer leave approaches for many of the workforce, we wince while observing that all too familiar narrative: “Just get your head down this week, go all-in with effort, then next week you can relax, breathe out, enjoy yourself”. The physiological and psychological clues are easy to read – the tight chest, the thousand-yard stare, the steely expression or slightly manic grin. Then holidays commence and the body and mind go into recovery mode, normally accompanied by a friendly sickness bug and a not insubstantial amount of anxiety around what didn’t get done, or what lies in wait for our return. 

The cause behind this intense, and potentially unhealthy, level of effort can of course be linked to volume of work, procrastination, distractions, lack of prioritisation, or lead times longer than a few days. We’d also wager that our own personal need to be in charge of our schedule plays into this too – if we are constantly delivering as part of a team, for other stakeholders, or for a performance objective linked to the growth of the wider business, we might feel the need to also throw in some activities that are purely for our own enjoyment, to provide comfort, or to break from the pressure of responsibility.  

These distractions and vices (when healthy) provide a welcome break from the grind and allow us to momentarily take control of the agenda. They break the intensity and provide the brain and the body with a rest and reset. Until such time as we are left with 3 days to fulfil a month’s worth of deliverables and a group of family and friends who are expecting us to be living our best lives by next week. 

We know that consistency is the key. We know that small steps often taken are more effective than giant leaps in the space of a heartbeat. So, some helpful questions for holiday reflection that might assist you in avoiding the charge to the finish line next time: 

  • Where do you procrastinate and why? 
  • How could you create a more consistent platform of effort? 
  • How would you reward this consistency? What activities would you choose? 
  • What are you engaging in that should be someone else’s responsibility? How might you delegate this to someone else, or manage another stakeholder’s expectations about your involvement? 
  • How might working backwards from a deadline help you with your planning? 
  • Do you afford time in your plan for curveballs and unknowns? 
  • What distractions or vices are not adding value for you? Where are they eating into your schedule unnecessarily? 
  • What inner dialogue would you like to avoid when on leave? 
  • What one thing would you like to engage in on holiday that would signal you are truly ‘on leave’ from your work? 
  • What would you like to be thinking and feeling on your return to work? 
  • What one thing could you implement on your return that will help support your physical or mental health? 
  • Who can you share this with? Are they happy to support you by holding you accountable? 

Now go and sit on the dock of the bay and waste some time!

Recommended Posts