July 9, 2020

How Leaders Can Prepare to Take Time Off from Work

Prepare to take time off of work so you can fully disconnect

We've all done it at some point. Promised our friends and family that this vacation would be different––no work. But still we find ourselves answering phone calls or clearing email at the end of the night, "so it's more manageable when I get back."

But taking time off from work and disconnecting isn't just a means to avoid burnout. MRIs and PET scans of the brain have proven that people do their best work and think most clearly when they're in a relaxed state of mind, according to Brigid Schulte, journalist and director of the Better Life Lab at New America. That's why as leaders, it's critical that we let ourselves reallocate our work while we're away so we can actually experience these benefits.

We gathered insights from our community of more than 150 CEOs and executives about how they've been working with their Double assistants to take time off from work. The following are the 15 most common tasks they're delegating this summer.

Act as a gatekeeper 🙅‍♀️

The first step in unplugging from work is physically disconnecting yourself from email and other apps that send you notifications about work. By logging out of these systems and giving full access to your assistant, you can ensure you don't return to a deluge of messages.

  • Triage all emails
  • Filter through LinkedIn requests and messages
  • Keep vacation time fully blocked off
  • Schedule all meetings and calls for after vacation

Plan a vacation 🏖

Maximizing your productivity in the weeks leading up to your vacation can help you relax once you're away. Because planning a vacation takes time, delegate as many of these tasks as you can to your assistant. Not only will this save you time, but your assistant is better skilled at handling these types of tasks.

  • Book flights, accommodations, and car rentals
  • Research the latest travel regulations and safety guidelines
  • Make arrangements for pet boarding and care
  • Source gifts and cards for weddings and other events

Make time for family 👪

Whether you're able to travel or planned time to relax at home, you want to make the most of your time off with friends and family. Particularly if you are planning a staycation, downtime can prove to be tempting to check in with work. Ask your assistant to help research activities you can do to maximize your quality time.

  • Research restaurants that have reopened and new places to explore
  • Arrange summer tutoring or schooling for children
  • Schedule virtual social activities for friends and family
  • Order games, patio furniture, or equipment to enjoy time outside

Prepare your return to the office 📋

Often the fear of what you'll return to when you get back to the office can ruin the last few days of vacation––or discourage you from taking time off at all. Having your assistant keep you organized while you're away and keep track of what requires follow-up when you return will help put you at ease. This is also a great opportunity to have your assistant be proactive and get around to some summer clean up projects when work is a little slower.

  • Create a detailed report of post-vacation follow-ups
  • Clean up contact databases, file storage, password managers, etc
  • Manage office and home services such as cleaning, air conditioning, subscription payments, etc.

How to delegate this summer

We believe that taking time off from work and disconnecting is a critical part of being an effective leader. Temporarily handing off your work to your executive assistant and having them serve as your gatekeeper is the easiest way to decompress without the stress of what awaits you when you return.

To make delegating these common pre-vacation tasks easier, we created dozens of templates in the Double app that you can choose from to put recurring tasks on auto-pilot. And if you think of something after you've left, simply use our voice note feature to provide context quickly from your phone.

Voice note hero image

Because executives only pay for the hours their Double assistant works, it's easy to increase your assistant's hours while you're away to ensure you have coverage. Once you're back at work, you can return to your regular schedule and hours.

Prepare for your vacation with Double

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