D98/P16: Help ease your Day 1 back from vacation

Yesterday, I got back to work after my Durga Pooja staycation. No bags to pack, no cats mewling at the pet-boarding drop-off, no flights to almost-miss… quite a good break.

For most of us, the first day back from a holiday, there is invariably a huge backlog of mails to get through. There are mails about fires that burnt and doused in our absence, fires that almost started but did not quite catch and then there are the glowing cinders about to burst into flames. And … you need to ferret these out from among the numerous innocuous items that reach our mailboxes each day.

Already, there are quite a few articles on how to go on a vacation and even how to get back. Here are some from over the past few months:

However, as I walked into Day 1 after the vacation yesterday, I realized that I have something to add that might help other folks:

Over time, I have created my own ritual around how to go on a vacation. Some of the steps change depending on the vacation length and on whether I am available intermittently or completely off the grid during this time. However, it is probably pretty much along the same lines as everyone else, such as ensuring that important threads are complete or delegated to someone who knows that they are responsible for the thread and so on. I also draft the Out-Of-Office (OOO) mail in advance to ensure that there is adequate information available to anyone reaching out to me in my absence. 

There is one additional thing I do which may be different from others:

On the last day, before setting my OOO and logging off, I take about 15 minutes to think about what will be important on Day 1 when I get back from my vacation. I list these out in a word document or an excel sheet and save it on my desktop.

On the first day after getting back, while the mailbox chugs in the background downloading the mails, I take a few minutes to go over this list before starting with the mails, meeting up with the team etc. While it is true that priorities sometimes change over the course of the vacation, this helps me reorient myself and be more aware of any changes when they do occur.

For me, this is something that takes some of the hassle out of the first day back from vacation. Perhaps you will find this useful too.

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