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5 tips for using annual leave wisely

The concept of having to take time off throughout the year is a weird thing to adjust to when starting full-time work. Having long summer holidays and weeks off over Christmas is something everyone knows they’ll miss when they finish their time in education. However no one really talks about the process behind annual leave and how to use it well.

With a survey from British Airways finding that a third of working Brits don’t take all of their annual leave, it’s good to get in the habit of taking what you’re entitled to from the start of your career. So here are some tips for how to become adjusted to the process of taking holidays.

Don’t take it all at once

It’s so hard to resist but don’t take all of your holiday in the first half of the year. Think about how burnt out you may get if you go 6 months without a real break.

Take the time to sit down and go through what trips you’d like to make that year and when, or when you know you’d prefer to just be at home for a few days. By doing this you can see how you’d like to use up your holiday – making sure you don’t overbook – and space it out evenly.

Plan ahead

Some companies will have policies of how soon you can book time off, usually a month. This means that you can have a month to look forward to your break which is always good. By planning out when you’d like to take your holidays, you can get them booked well in advance and start getting excited for them!

Remember to always book the time off work and get it approved before you book a holiday.

Plan something with your time off

Sometimes it can be nice to just take some time off to get your headspace back to where it needs to be. If you’re not planning on going anywhere or doing anything in particular with your time off, try to write a list of things you want to accomplish with your break or plan to see friends. This way you won’t feel like you’ve wasted your time off and you can be productive, then when you return to work you can feel refreshed again.

It is also important to take some time for yourself, so if you want a day to just laze around and watch films – do it.

Don’t worry if you don’t get everything done during your time off

Don’t feel bad about not working

When you know you have a holiday booked or you just want some time off, don’t feel awkward about booking the days off work. You’re entitled to having that time off so you should never feel that you’re being unreasonable about it.

At the same time, when your leave comes around, the desire to impress in a new job or go above and beyond can sometimes get in the way of enjoying your time off. It’s important that when you have time off to really take a break. If you have work emails on your phone then delete the app or turn your notifications off. If you set up an automated reply with contact details for someone else, you know that anything can be dealt with in your absence.

Use bank holidays to your advantage

There are times around Easter and Christmas where you can take minimal days of leave but end up with a while off work due to weekends and bank holidays. When you’re planning for the next year, take a look to see when bank holidays fall and how you can get more time off for your annual leave.


Overall, it’s important that you work out what you’ll want to use your annual leave for in the next year so you don’t run out of days too quickly. It’s always good to ask if you can buy or sell your annual leave too, so if you want some extra money in your pocket or want an extra day off you can.

Leave a comment below with how you plan to use your annual leave!

2 thoughts on “5 tips for using annual leave wisely

  1. Ah I didn’t plan my annual leave well this year and I’ve got 3 weeks of an extra day off this month I’ve no idea what to do with that time lol. Have booked a holiday through for later on. It’s definitely worth checking how much holiday you are entitled to/ accumulated especially if you do overtime so it can be used wisely but also surprise time off at the end of the year isn’t that bad.

    1. Wow that does sound like a nice surprise to have! It’s great to plan it out so you can arrange some nice trips and holidays with it too 🙂

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