There is nothing worse than dreaming up and planning the perfect vacation, and then having work-related stress overwhelm your precious and well-deserved time off. Here are my top 7 tips for preparing your work life so the only thing you need to think about while on vacation is YOU.
- Let colleagues and clients know well in advance of your travel plans
It’s advisable to send out a meeting invite of your vacation time and/or block out your vacation time in your work calendar so people are aware of your exact dates. A personal email to clients is also polite – this lets them know you are prioritizing them by reaching out and making sure they won’t need anything from you while you are away. If they do, you then have the time to prepare someone to stand in for you while you are away to ensure the work gets done in your absence.
- Make check lists
To-do lists are invaluable – and in this circumstance, I recommend you make a few, for example:
- A personal to-do list for your vacation preparations
- A work to-do list prior to your departure of things that need to be finished before you leave
- A hand-over list of responsibilities for those that replace you while you are away
- A return to work to-do list of things that need to be prioritized upon your return. This will ease your mind while on vacation as you won’t be left thinking of all the things you need to do, and trying to remember them for your first day back
- Prioritize your pre-vacation workload
Be clear and realistic about what tasks you plan to complete prior to your departure, and make sure you have these goals set out weeks before your trip, so you can ensure success.
- Plan your schedule strategically
Organize your schedule so that the last day at work before your trip, and the first day back are not packed with meetings or deadlines. Ideally, you take an extra day off on either side of your travels to prepare and debrief, but if that’s not possible, ensure you have a few hours on either side to ease into and out of vacation-mode.
- Make and communicate your “keeping in touch” plan
Ideally, you can cut off from work calls and emails completely while on vacation, but if you aren’t that lucky, then decide in advance to what degree you are willing or needed to be in touch while you are on your vacation, and then communicate that to your colleagues and clients. Be realistic, and then provide the relevant contact details to the necessary people.
- Leave a paper and email trail
Help your colleagues from afar by keeping project files organized in your real and virtual inboxes. The best way to do this is by being organized way in advance, and making sure that necessary email threads, and paper trails are shared carefully and properly.
- Set up your Out Of Office and voicemail message AND ensure you remove it once you are back
Your OOO message notifies people you are not working during the stated dates, but it’s also imperative that you leave contact details of someone else for people to contact in your absence, if need be. Be sure to remove your OOO upon your return, and reset your voicemail – I suggest you put a reminder in your calendar to do this on your first day back.
So there you have it – once you have done your pre-vacation prep according to the 7 steps listed above, you can go and enjoy your well-deserved vacation. Remember – everyone needs time off to recharge and revitalize themselves so they can continue to be productive and valuable in the work space. ENJOY!