Does the thought of ‘spring break’ approaching cause you grief? Sure we all love our vacations, but unfortunately taking vacation and returning afterwards can be stressful. It doesn’t have to be this way. Here’s some things you can do to help! If you’ve seen them before, it might still be worth a skim through as a reminder.
Just recently having the opportunity to take vacation with my family, it reminded me how stressful vacation can be, unfortunately. In today’s world of always being connected and the on-going expectations and demands placed on us in our work lives, it can be very difficult for many to get away on vacation easily. Then there is the mess when we return! The result too often is the week before we leave is high stress and the week we return is brutal! Then there is the time we are actually off on vacation. Regardless whether we are able to disconnect while away, the first few days can be tough as we de-stress from the week before, and then a few days before the end of the vacation we begin to think of what awaits our return and the stress and anxiety ramps up.
To help out just a little, I’ve re-posted some information from previous posts that may help.
Before you go:
- TIP: When you book your vacation, block off in your calendar the last day before you go and the first day you return, then be very selective as to what meetings you book on those days, if any. Give yourself the opportunity to clear your inbox, ensure delegation is set-up, take care of any priorities that need to be looked after when you are gone, and give yourself sometime to deal with the inevitable last minute before vacation “crisis” that surely will pop up.
- Appoint a delegate to look after things for you. Advise your team who this is and how to contact them. Turn on your out of office notification and put this contact information in the notification so that when others beyond your team try to contact you, they will realize you are out of the office and will know who to contact should they need to do so, rather than wait for your return.
- Depending on your level of responsibility, provide someone you trust with your contact information should there be a urgent matter or emergency in which you need to be reached. This maybe your cell phone number or contact information as to where you will be staying. This may or may not be your assigned delegate. Let your team know you are not checking or responding to emails or texts while you are gone. Be sure to leave clear instructions as to what constitutes an urgent matter or emergency.
- TIP: Leave instructions with your team to summarize key issues or problems you need to be aware of or where they need your help immediately upon your return. If you have an assistant they can consolidate all these items in one email and send to you upon your return. If you don’t have an assistant, then you can assign this to your delegate. The intent here is that this short list will allow you to quickly focus on the most important items immediately upon your return rather than trying to sort through all your emails or reacting as things come to your attention somewhat randomly throughout the day.
- Review the consolidated list from your team of the urgent matters they need your immediate assistance with. Use this list to set your priorities for your first day back. Schedule urgent meetings or phone calls as necessary to address these issues.
- Check-in with your delegate to see how things went and if there is anything you need to know about or follow-up on.
- TIP: Create a “Vacation holding” file within your email and move all the emails received while you were gone, other than the last 1-2 days, to this file. Then sort through and process the remaining emails from the past 1-2 days. If something comes up that you need to search through the emails in the vacation holding file, you have them available. After a week or so, if you haven’t found you need any emails from this folder you can go ahead and delete them.
- Reflect on what worked well and what didn’t before, during, and after your vacation so you can tweak your vacation routine accordingly.
- TIP: Book your next vacation!
Whether you are on vacation or not, everyone must have the proper balance between work and life. Finding it is a real challenge that so many people struggle with. So what is this work-life balance thing anyway? Is it real, or just a myth? This article discusses two analogies to describe work-life balance. Having the right mindset and expectation helps you find a sweet spot to get you through the twists and turns that life will surely send your way. With these 10 steps to improve your work-life balance you can get closer to a healthier and happier place in life!
During the summer months when your co-workers are taking time off, or you are taking time off, it is very easy to get out of your routines. This is likely when you need these routines the most! This post on personal planning discusses 6 key steps to getting and staying organized on your priorities. Even if you are familiar with them, review them again and do an inventory to ensure you haven’t mistakenly dropped some! When you are picking up the slack for others that are away, or playing catch up when you return, managing your time effectively is key to treading water.
Is email easier in the summer months? Maybe, but not very likely! There are some very helpful built in tools within Outlook and several email apps that can assist you with staying on top of your email. It is surprising how few people use them and often enough aren’t even aware of them. You may be a quick and easy mouse click away from some much needed help! After it was first published, this second post on the @5 Essential email folders. received positive feedback from several who tried these tips. If you aren’t aware of what the @5 are, check it out!
Other Related Posts:
Here’s some additional posts related to this topic written by others.
Most of these ideas are pretty common and nothing special perhaps, but hopefully you picked up a couple of new tips or at least were reminded of them.
Please leave a comment and let us know any tips you may have to help others reduce their vacation stress!