Taking time off during the holidays can be stressful. Preparing yourself, your practice, and your clients adequately for your impending absence can alleviate some of the headache. Here are a few tips to maintain your peace of mind.
If you know you will be out of the office, mark the dates off your calendar at the beginning of the year. This will be a good reminder for you when scheduling future court appearances, client meetings, and mediations. Setting aside that time is useful for managing your staff’s expectations.
- Rely on your support staff.
If you have support staff, use them effectively. Train your support staff to sort mail and e-mail into categories: urgent/important, not urgent/important, not urgent/not important. This will speed up your review of the communications when you return.
I tend to get overwhelmed and unable to think practically. Do not be like me. Make sure to have a plan in place to get all loose ends tied up before you leave. Clearing your desk will help you survive if you return in a post-holiday slump.
- Prepare clients in advance.
Notify your clients of your unavailability early on. Post physical notices of closed dates in clear view in your office, add your holiday dates to your signature lines, and notify your clients in writing of your upcoming absence. If there are any problems that need to be addressed, make sure they are as settled as possible before you leave. Talk your clients through various scenarios that could arise and come up with solutions together.
- Build in some wiggle room.
If possible, allow yourself a day to ease back into work. Try not to schedule a big trial or a day full of client meetings on your return. The perfect first day back should be spent responding to e-mails and preparing mentally for the upcoming weeks.
Above all, make the most of your holidays. Spend time with your loved ones and clock in some necessary hours for self-care. You deserve it! Happy Holidays!