You’ve worked hard all year for your holiday and the time has finally arrived to think about the packing.  If you’re anything like me, numerous lists are compiled – the packing (suitcase and hand luggage) lists, the books I want to take list, the documentation list, the things I need to do before I go list …… you get the picture!

Going on holiday can raise as many stresses as a bad day in the office, until you get on the plane and finally feel able to relax.  Or do you?

Have you been able to let go of your work commitments?  How many of you reading this will be taking “just a little bit” of work with you this summer?  No doubt you assure the family that it won’t eat into the precious family time you all so richly crave but are you being truly honest with them, and yourself?

Last November I was lucky enough to go on holiday to Australia.   I naturally went into a pre-holiday melt-down.  The fact that the flight to Brisbane coincided with my annual voluntary Children In Need duties just added to my stress levels.  Being the conscientious soul that I am, I even went so far as contacting the hotels we were due to be staying at (3 in total) to ask about WiFi.  Was there any?  Free or chargeable?  Any computers for guests to utilise during their stay ….. and so it went on.

The night before we were due to fly, my Better Half sprang the bombshell on me that not only was he not taking his iPad on holiday with him, but his iPhone was staying in the UK too!  Yes, you read that right folks – no tablet, no phone.  He then advised that I should do likewise.  My goodness!  The world temporarily stopped spinning.  What would I do without my iPad?  How would I cope?  After some considerable discussion, I agreed to play ball and leave the gadgetry at home so that we could enjoy our Ashes experience (ahem ..!) without interruption.  After all, all of my client social media was scheduled to run in my absence, all my clients knew I was off on the trip of a lifetime and actually, there was nothing that couldn’t wait until we got back.

En route to the airport I had the Gadget DTs.  I felt a bit odd, not having my third hand – I couldn’t check-in on Foursquare to tell the world I was at BHX airport!  I couldn’t update my Facebook status with a picture of my first G&T of the holiday, and I couldn’t tweet to inform the world we were in the Departure Lounge.  Did it matter?  Hell, no!

Once we’d checked in at the flight desk, rid ourselves of the suitcases and taken stock of the flight ahead we relaxed.  And do you know what?  It was fabulous!

Two whole weeks went by with no phones, no emails, no texts and it was utter bliss.   I’ll have no hesitation when I take my break in the sun in September to leave the gizmos and gadgets at home, pack the paperbacks and just relax for 10 days – after all, that’s why I run my own business in the first place – work/life balance.

So when you’re drawing up the packing list, think of your family, your health and your own wellbeing.  Most of all, think about time and how precious it is.   I once worked as a PA for a lovely Danish man called Jan (sadly, no longer with us).  Jan said something once which has stayed in my mind ever since:

“Cheryl, the problem with the British is that they live to work.  In Denmark we work to live”.

Trust me when I say that the world really won’t stop turning if nobody can reach you for 2 weeks, and you and your family will be grateful of the break.  At the end of the day, almost everyone takes a holiday – people will understand!  They may even respect a little bit more for your decision.

Happy holiday!