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  • Writer's pictureMike Douglas

Taking Annual Leave is Difficult

The last 3 weeks or so I’ve been planning work activities and tasks around being this upcoming leave. I’ve scheduled meetings around it and social media for throughout it. In the last 2 days I’ve really stressed about not being at work and making sure everything is covered. There was for a short time a collaborative meeting on my last day of leave and I was debating coming back to work a day early to attend it. Fortunately though that meeting ended up being cancelled.

All this, and guess how long I’m off for? 4 work days! All this worry, stress and it’s all for just 4 days off.

Sometimes you just need to stop, pause and reflect. This afternoon as I shut down my laptop, I reflected that for a moment I thought taking leave isn’t worth this feeling.

The truth is, possibly the opposite. I think it actually shows something else. I need to take more time off or away from work.

I am someone who likes organisation, structure, routine and likely control to some extent too. So the idea of not being at work means I (feel like I) lose that.

Link that with often working solo and at times not having a team to support multiple aspects of my role and it becomes tricky to take time away. It’s kind of a (im-)perfect storm.

I have mentioned before needed to reintroduce end of work day routines or behaviours; either a walk or sitting in the garden. That time outside, away from a screen is important to detach from work. I think the process of physically moving too is something I need, value, benefit from after a day sat in front a laptop. Which during the summer has been the routine of 4/5 days, fairly regularly; hopefully that will change slightly in Autumn, but still.

I have been proactive though. I have now booked annual leave for the rest of this calendar year; booking in another 3 days for late October and the week between Christmas and new year.

Annual leave is clearly something I’m still working on, and I think it feels both harder to take and yet more needed now I work from home. One of my autumn goals is to be more informed and educated on positive home working behaviours, tools, ways of working and protecting personal space and mindset. I think a future post maybe about the things I’ve changed and the things I’m aspiring to change having been a remote/ home based worker for a while now. Are there tools or behaviours you would recommend?

For now, here’s to taking some time away from work and continuing to learn about maintaining a healthy work life balance and mindset.


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