We all enjoy having some “me time” and taking some time off from work to travel, spend time with family, or just have a stay-cation at home relaxing. While taking a vacation from work is relaxing and fun, you can’t really say the same for the first day back at work. Your first day back typically consists of sorting through the hundreds of emails you received while you were out, getting caught up on what happened over the past week, and trying to figure out where to even begin with all of the work you left behind.
Below are 5 tips to help you prepare for your vacation ahead of time so you can truly “unplug” while you’re away from work and not have to be stressed about what awaits you when you return to the office.
Set pre-vacation priorities. Prioritize what needs to be completed before you go on vacation and what can wait until you get back. This will ensure that you complete everything you absolutely need to before you leave and you will have a good starting point for what needs to be done when you return.
Let people know ahead of time that you’ll be out of the office. Let members of your team and other people that you work with frequently know that you’ll be going on vacation 1-2 weeks before you leave… that will give them enough time to contact you if they need anything before you leave. To cover anyone else who might need you before you leave, set up an out-of-office message 2 or 3 days before you leave to alert people you will be out.
Designate someone to be a point of contact while you’re out. When you compose your out-of-office message for your vacation, be sure to include the contact information of the person to be contacted in your absence. This may be a different person based on the needs of the person emailing you.
Give your team members a status update before you leave. Make sure to let team members know where you left off on projects and deliverables before you leave the office.
Use email rules to help organize emails while you’re away. There’s nothing worse than coming back from vacation to a full inbox… especially when half of the emails don’t even require a response from you. An easy way to avoid this is to create rules in your email client to sort the emails coming in. You could create a rule to put all emails from members of your team into one folder – that way you’ll know those are higher priority. You could create another rule to put all subscription based emails (blogs, newsletters, et) into another folder – you can easily do this by creating a rule for all emails that contain words like “unsubscribe” or “view in a browser”.
By taking these steps to prepare for vacation before you leave, you can actually relax and really enjoy your vacation without worrying as much about having a mess to deal with when you get back to the office.