I cannot count the number of times I have heard “taking a vacation means twice as much work when I return.” Usually, I would agree.
We just came back from a lovely vacation, and I dreaded today. Historically, today would have been all about putting out fires. But it wasn’t.
I tried something a little different.
- I planned ahead. Prepare in advance for the week you return. Wouldn’t you normally plan that far in advance? I realize it is hard to focus as vacation nears, but the busier you are, the faster time moves. Use that time to be prepared, you’ll appreciate it.
- I managed email. First, set up your out-of-office message, and arrange for an emergency contact. Second, set up 2 folders: Monday and LowP. Third, check your email 1x per day (if you have phone access). Don’t reply. Forward urgent needs to your emergency person. File the rest or delete. Don’t spend more than 15 minutes.
- I prioritized. After returning, take your to-do’s and prioritize. Make sure you are set for the next couple days, and you remember where everything is. Then address your email and follow up with your emergency contact. By lunch, you’ll be back to the usual Monday.
What was my reward for this preparation compared to other years? My Monday wasn’t any more stressful than usual, and I was able to leave work at the office. A small victory, but wonderful nonetheless.