12 Tips for Preparing a Work Vacation

Summer’s approaching and that vacation time is flying your way. Here are some tips to make sure that you have the best possible recreation time.

1 Be Farsighted:  It’s all very well wrapping up your current workload before you head off for Cabo but don’t set yourself up to get swamped when you return. Checking ahead on your calendar to see what projects or action items are coming up after your return can help avoid you being in over your head when you come back.

Vacation productivity work

Relaxation takes planning!

2. Set Up Your Messages:  This is an easy one to overlook but it’s crucial. To avoid angry voicemails or emails demanding an explanation why you haven’t replied to their multiple messages, make sure you set a new outgoing voicemail message detailing the days you’re out of the office. Same goes for an automated email reply.

3. Prioritize: When you’re making your list of what needs to get done before you leave for time-off, try to be realistic. Our work-life isn’t static; what looks like a calm day of little work can rapidly turn into a storm of panic. Still, it’s a good idea to get a feel for and identify what absolutely needs to be taken care of before you leave, and what can be delegated.

4. Schedule Smart:  If at all possible, avoid scheduling a lot (or any!) work on the day before you leave or the day you return to work. In keeping with our theme of having a focused mindset for some good vacation time, it’s extremely counter-productive to get yourself worried to exhaustion right before or right after your vacation.

5. Be Thorough: Take some time to walk through, step-by-step, each and every process you’re delegating in your absence. Does everyone have the email addresses they need? The login info? By taking a closer look, you can head some troubles off at the pass.

Teamwork planning vacation productivity

Don’t forget your team!

6. Don’t Forget Your Team:  As soon as you have those vacation days locked in, let your colleagues know. With plenty of advanced notice, you’re presenting yourself as proactive and team-minded. And you’re making sure the balls in your co-workers’ court if they need anything from you before you leave.

7. List Up!: This one is fairly self-explanatory. To avoid the hectic panic of trying to remember that one thing you said you were going to remember (but knew, really, that you were going to forget), first jot down every little item that pops in your brain, whether it’s vacation supplies or emails you need to reply to. Then make master lists, as many as you want, to take the stress off holding everything in your overworked brain.

8. Take Care of the Big Hitters: Make sure you put in some extra TLC on people/clients who are important to your work. Any opportunity to touch base with those high profile clients is great, plus you’ll be making sure they’re fully aware that you’ll be away for a while.

9. Team Trust: This one’s a biggie. If you’ve fully prepared your team, or whoever will be taking care of your work in your absence, then you really need to demonstrate that you have faith in their abilities by letting them do their job. The key to this is making sure you schedule plenty of time to go over your game plan and allowing them some time to ask questions so you can troubleshoot any speed bumps before they become problems.

10. Decide Your Availability:  This is totally up to you. Before you leave, decide how much communication you’re going to have with the office, and what form that communication can take. Only emails? Only during a certain few hours a day? Only texts? Bear in mind, though, that the whole point of a vacation is to get away from work. Barring any disasters (and really only the ones that you can actually do something about), you want to stay fully immersed in your bubble of relaxation.

Vacation relaxation work productivity

And away we go!

11. Don’t Assume Your Boss Knows Everything: Your boss might know when you’re leaving but that doesn’t mean she knows the steps you’ve taken to ensure that things go smoothly while you’re gone. Make sure you take some time to talk to your boss about what the plan is, and then send a brief follow up email detailing what you talked about.

12. Finally, Get Ready for the Send Off!:  There’s an adage in comedy: “Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em. Tell ‘em. Tell ‘em what you told ‘em.” The same applies here. Set a time on your last day to say goodbye and thank your coworkers for covering you while you’re gone. Maybe bake cookies too. This can help show that you really appreciate all the help they’re giving you while you go decompress on a beach somewhere. After all, that’s the goal, right?

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