Last day of work? Here’s how to wrap up on time
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Last day of work before the holidays? Here’s how to wrap up on time

22 Dec 2017

You, understandably, are dying to get away from your desk and take a well-deserved holiday, but have you got all your ducks in a row? Here’s how to wrap things up quickly so you can leave on time.

You may already be dreamily thinking about your upcoming holidays and have probably done lots of vacation-related planning. You’ve packed bags, you’ve nailed down your transport itinerary and all you need to do on this last day of work is to tie things off.

That can be a lot easier said than done, however. Ironically, you can often end up working double-time in the lead-up to a break to compensate for the time you’re taking off.

It’s reasonable to want to have a soft landing upon your return to the office but, if that comes at the expense of leaving work at a reasonable hour, you may need to rethink your approach. Here are some handy tips on how to successfully tee everything up and leave the office in time.

Clean out your desk

Mess is distracting, and not very pleasant to return to. Coming back from a break to a desk piled high with papers and old food wrappers risks completely disrupting your post-holiday zen.

Give your desk a little tidy before you leave. You’ll likely end up finding things you’d printed out months ago but had totally forgotten about, or things that you swore you’d return to at a later point but never did. While you’re at it, you may as well make a decision on whether you’re going to bin or continue to horde these items.

If you keep snacks in your desk or food in the fridge, make sure not to forget about these (nothing says ‘welcome home’ like spores growing in a once appetising tub of hummus).

Respond to emails

It’s hard to avoid the heart-attack-inducing moment when you return to your desk, open your work email and find an incredible deluge of requests.

You can minimise this by making a point to not leave anyone hanging, lest they end up relentlessly asking you, ‘Hey, just following up on this?’ messages, which, when experienced all at once, may reduce you to an anxious puddle.

Not that I need to remind anyone, as it is arguably one of the most satisfying parts of taking time off, set an out-of-office email so people know you’re away.

Relinquish control

A lot of workers will sometimes find themselves feeling guilty for taking time off. In principle, no one should feel guily for accepting something an employer is contractually and legally obliged to give you, yet it definitely happens.

This guilt can manifest in making an impossibly long to-do list in the lead-up to holidays, which will invariably mess up your schedule.

As simple (and possibly unhelpful) this advice is, you really just have to accept that you’re not going to be able to complete every task before you go.

Not everything you’re working on needs your attention right away, so delegate some tasks to your future self.

Make a to-do list

The return to work after the holidays can be a little disorientating. You’ll probably briefly feel like you’ve forgotten everything you ever knew about your job, so, a good way to make everything a little less confusing is to leave yourself a to-do list for the day or week you get back.

Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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