In the process of preparing to leave for my summer vacation, I was ticking down my “to do” list and realized we needed to have an updated blog post. So once again, real life becomes my inspiration. Here are some tips for getting prepared at the office so you can fully disconnect, unwind and relax on your vacation:
Make your “to do” list
Make a running list of what needs to be accomplished before you leave and make it a priority to check things off. Ask your co-workers, manager and clients what they need from you before you leave. A nicely checked-off list will give you the reassurance that all is well for your departure.
Look and plan ahead
Look at your schedule for the week or even two weeks after you get back. Do you have big meetings coming up? Do you have travel plans that need to be made? Do you have a deliverable due? Add all of that to your “to do” list and do as much advance preparation as possible. That way it won’t be looming over your head while you are gone.
Have a back-up
If there are things that will need attention while you are gone, bring a co-worker or your manager up to speed on where everything stands and what they might need to do in your absence. Make sure your contacts know who your back up is and that all parties have each other’s contact information.
Let contacts know and set expectations
Give your clients and other business partners as much notice as possible about your time away from the office. That way they can plan as well. Decide in advance if you will be checking in with the office periodically during your absence, either via phone, checking voicemail or e-mail. Ideally, you can completely shut down and enjoy a work-free vacation, but that’s not always possible. Either way, set those expectations. Your voicemail should have a message indicating you will be out of the office for an extended period, include whether or not your will be checking messages and who your back-up is while you are gone. Your e-mail should be set up with an automated, out-of-office reply with the same information.
Clear your desk
You may be one of those people who always have a neat orderly desk. If so, you can skip this one. But if you’re like me and papers tend to cover your desk, add clearing your desk to your "to do" list. That way, when you come back from a nice, relaxing vacation you can at least ease into your re-entry at work with a neat desk.
Enjoy and don’t apologize
You have earned this vacation! Take it, enjoy it and don’t apologize for taking the time off. You will come back refreshed, re-energized and more productive than when you left. It’s a win-win for everyone!
And with that, I can check off one more thing on my list and am one step closer to enjoying my time off.
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