How to Make a Holiday Work at Work


Just recently, I had one of my clients say to me, “Colin, I’ve been told I need to take holidays, but I just don’t have the time! I don’t want to come back to 250 emails. I don’t know how to set it up so that when I leave, everything is still going to run the way that I need it to.” Can you associate with this?

Sometimes taking a holiday can be a challenge. Through running my business and working with busy professionals, I’ve spent some time thinking about how to make a holiday work. I think there are three things that you need to do to make it work. It’s all based around this one rule: ‘buffer time.’ Buffer time enables you set up your holiday, and then clean up your holiday well.

It works like this — you need three things:

1. Set up — You need half a day, about one week prior, to set up little systems and look a bit further with your projects. Ask yourself, “What do I need to set up so I can actually go on holiday and not be on email (Crackberry) or stressing all day?” Spend half a day setting up systems or talking with people who need to fill the gaps.

2. Sweep — On the last day prior to your holiday, for about half a day, ‘sweep’ everything out. Forward all your emails, get all the stuff off your desk, do that final cleanup so that when you head into your holidays, you know you’ve swept off all that you can. Then turn off your phone and do your holiday. I just spent a week and a half in Indonesia, and I didn’t look at my phone once because my systems and employees were running my business; I’d set it up and I’d done a sweep.

3. Sift — When you come back from your holiday, do a sift. A ‘sift’ takes half a day. Don’t try to do everything at once; just sift through all the emails that you’ve received and then prioritise your work from that.

So the three steps are — set up, sweep and sift — This will give you clarity. It will enable you to actually have a holiday. (who would have thought!)

I would love you to have a holiday this year, and this is how you do it well.

QUESTION: What’s one of your biggest challenges in taking a holiday? I’d love to hear it in the comments below.


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I’m Colin! I’m an Aussie, but I’m based in Newport Beach, California.
I help entrepreneurs sell from virtual and live stages (without being pushy and sales-y)
I coach thousands of experts, course creators and coaches around the world on this topic, and I’ve also advised the biggest names including people Amy Porterfield, Alison Prince, Carrie Green, Julie Solomon  and many other industry leaders.