Going on Holiday may result in more work:
Why not always being available is the best idea.
Preparing for a Holiday/Vacation.
Going on Holiday may result in more work.
1. Exclusive or Elusive?
There is an heir of mystery about your diary, your workload and your current availability, and you can use this to your advantage. Clients and customers don’t need to know how your day is scheduled, and what you have planned and this is good. It means you plan your day around how you can be best productive. This should include your annual leave, holidays and time away from working.
It may sound a little counterproductive to not be ‘available’ to clients, but not answering on the first ring of the phone, or within 2 minutes of their email mean clients learn that you are not at their beck and call. You are in demand, your time is important and you value it, as should they. Setting in place systems to limit your time on emails, call answering and scheduled meeting times and finishing all reinforce the importance of your time – both for you and the client. Schedule both for your sanity and productivity, but also for your clients. Dedicating time solely to their discussion, meeting, or work, rather than jumping from one to another.
- Schedule emails with Gmail – https://support.google.com/mail/answer/9214606
- Can your email response wait? – https://www.businessemailetiquette.com/how-fast-should-you-respond
2. Always available or in high demand?
The day to day tasks of your business, can take over your day resulting in the feeling that you are busy, but not making any progress. The ability to check off the list the response to a client can feel like you have made progress, but the change in focus, may have the opposite effect. You are reacting to other people’s agendas, and not your own. Block out time in your diary for WORK, be clear with clients, and work on one thing at a time. The response can wait, so can the call unless scheduled. Customer expectations need to be managed so you can manage your business and time effectively, and this includes your availability.
- Don’t drop your days plan as soon as the phone rings, or a new email comes in.
- Plan your day and make it work for you. Value your time, use it to make progress not deal with menial tasks.
- It is proven, Emails made you less productive – https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidburkus/2016/04/06/how-email-made-you-less-productive
3. Planning and Productivity
- Emails – By scheduling time for emails in your day, you have put aside a specific time to respond. Keep this within hours of work, or if outside your working day make sure to schedule the send with your email client so that they are received at a suitable time. Emails have statistically shown to take up a significant amount of time, and drain productivity within a working day. Pinpoint problematic email chains too – Could this be solved by one scheduled call, rather than a long backwards and forward email chain? Effective management of communication allows you to focus on your work and not just talk about work.
- Phone Call meetings – In the age of Zoom, Skype, Google meet, and Microsoft meetings make sure to use your time wisely. Set not just the time of the meeting, but the schedule and the ending. Otherwise a meeting could be hours, wandering in topic and subject matter and not productive. Agenda for a meeting is also good to pinpoint and keep to task.
- Pre-plan meetings – pre-plan at least a week in advance, and ask others to stick to the agreed time in the diary. Starting a week with scheduled tasks makes you know what is possible, how you can use your time wisely and means you can be prepared and focussed on them in the prescribed time. Follow meetings with an email of your notes. This qualifies your understanding of the meeting, allowing them to clarify anything, or agree with the direction from the meeting.
4. Plan in advance to a holiday
In many cases before going away I have had a scheduled meeting and discussion about the work that needs to be undertaken on my return. This takes off the pressure for both the client and yourself on your return, and you have clearly defined goals and tasks set up to boost your productivity upon getting back to work.
By planning well in advance of any holiday/time off you are giving yourself clear defined goals, but also giving clients a timeframe in which to work with. I contact people several weeks in advance to her being away, this gives them a chance to respond to you in time. This would be either for work before your holiday, or to set up work for when you return.
- Give clients a time frame, a scheduled time to respond and yourself time to do work before, or plan for when you return.
- This allows you to put them as a matter of importance in your diary as a consideration and shows that you value them as clients.
- Plan up to a month in advance, have in place a list of those to contact, those to inform and build a plan of action for your return.
5. Contact potential new clients, but also old clients
Hi Chris,I do hope you’re well,I’m just letting all my current and past clients know that I will be unavailable from the 20th of August until the 4th of September 2020.If you would like to discuss any design requirements for graphic design branding identity design prior to going away please do let me alone know and we can schedule a time for a discussion before I am away.We have just released a new blog article on my website, and completed an interesting project and identity design which might be of interest to you.In addition, we are currently running a fantastic deal on scheduled payment plans for new projects if this might be of interest to you please do let me know.Look forward to hearing from you,Matt RowanCraft Graphic
6. Never leave anyone in the lurch.
- Contact all current clients, and previous clients that you think could lead to more work
- Plan out your diary and time.
- By Pre-planning, informing and reminding existing clients that you won’t be available, you have given everyone suitable time to plan.
- Schedule meetings before leaving, speak to those that require any help.
- Plan meetings for your return
7. Inform your networks through Social media, and newsletters and schedule your posts
Depending on your type of business, social media accounts could be used for sharing your discoveries or journeys your holiday period. Social media can also be used to schedule certain posts or things of interest you found whilst away.
Otherwise posting through social calendars that allow you to schedule post while you’re away can be in an effective way to keep consistency and so scheduling some time for you to undertake this work before you leave is important.
This is just one more thing that would allow you to leave knowing you that everything is going to be effective and automated and allow you to relax. Also, think about newsletters e.g. if you are using mailchimp or similar, they have the ability to schedule posts and blogs through your CMS, and can be very effective whilst you are not there to be monitoring and in front of your computer.
8. Prepare for sign off
Thank you for contacting Craft Graphic, I’m currently unavailable until the 28th of September.If your enquiry is urgent please contact me on the following email address, and otherwise I will endeavour to respond to your email as soon as possible on my return.Many thanksMatt RowanCraft Graphic
9. On your return
You can then turn off your computer knowing that soon as you return you can open up your document and remind yourself of where you left your project work. It doesn’t need to be on your mind while you’re away and there won’t to be anything to remind yourself to do.
- Make a list of all current work, future work and where you currently are on projects.
- Be ready on your return date in your emails to pick up ready where you left off.
- Prime your productivity, and be excited to get back to work because you have recharged.
10. Go away on Holiday, free in the knowledge that your computer is closed and so are you.
- Try to remember you are entitled to holiday.
- Down time is as important as work time – limit your availability.
- Manage your time, and be productive.
- Allow yourself to switch off, and come back refreshed
- Be ready to remind yourself of your work
- Enjoy your holiday, you deserve it
About Craft Graphic
We work with a wide variety of companies from start-ups through to medium and large size companies to support their branding and identity work.
Our work has included customer type places for brands which have featured in a wide variety of formats from TV & film through to packaging and print.
Creativity is key to our work, but so is understanding the real problem I understand underlies the project. Every project starts with a conversation about how we can help where you want to be as a company.