By Larry Alton, Entrepreneur.com
Stepping away from work to enjoy personal time is stressful if you’re an extreme A-type personality. Taking time away to enjoy the holidays, vacations or weekends with your family and friends can seem like an overwhelming lull in work. If you’re a workaholic who has a difficult time disengaging from your duties, then maybe it’s time to realign your work and personal time habits. Take a look at these three ways to keep your mind off work during your downtime.
1. Don’t take work home with you.
Simply put, make it extremely difficult or even impossible for you to complete work tasks from home. Leave your work files at the office, remove your professional email account from your personal phone, and get some physical separation between you and your work materials. This can be extremely difficult to accomplish if you’re able to work remotely from home. In this case, try to keep work-related data relegated to certain areas of your house, such as your home office. Don’t let professional emails, documents and other materials leak into areas dedicated to relaxation.
2. Have a well-written auto-reply.
During holiday seasons and vacations, your colleagues and clients will expect to come across a few automated email responses. However, these auto-replies can only serve to frustrate, especially if the recipient needs assistance immediately. You can alleviate tension by creating an auto-response template that includes alternate contacts for specific needs. Noteworthy contacts include anyone who will be stepping in for your responsibilities during your time off. You can even set vacation auto-responders for social media accounts, if you rely on these networks for professional communications.
An auto-responder can make it clear that you will not be using your professional email at all during your time off. If you don’t have an alternate emergency contact and must remain available, then consider listing your own phone number, instructing readers to only call in the event of an emergency. This will force your colleagues to reassess the urgency of their requests. If it’s not an emergency, then they can just talk to you about it once you return to work.
3. Say “no” to extra tasks.
It can be too easy to over commit to work tasks near periods of downtime. If you feel like your calendar is filling up too fast, then don’t be afraid to say “no.” You need to keep you time off clear so that you can adequately enjoy the holidays. This can be a particularly difficult exercise for workaholics who love to lend a hand. Saying “no” can feel extremely awkward, but it is an useful skill to practice at work. Protect your personal time by not signing up for additional duties during the holiday season.
Does your time off seem a little less intimidating now? You can reduce the likelihood of becoming overworked by planning ahead, leaving work at the office, preparing an informative email auto-responder, and by avoiding additional work responsibilities that can stress you out during vacations and holidays.
More from Entrepreneur: