5 Strategies to Keep Your Sanity at Work as You Prepare for Vacation
Plan in Advance to Make the Most of Your Time Away
We’ve all been there. You’re getting ready to go for vacation and feeling overwhelmed and rushed. You have a full to-do list and a bunch of meetings on your calendar.
Your last day in the office is hectic and stressful as you head out the door. And, this is supposed to be the start of your relaxing vacation!
Over the years, I’ve developed a few strategies that will help you prepare to leave for vacation, especially if you work in an office with a heavy reliance on shared calendars.
1. Manage your office calendar
Once the dates of your trip are confirmed, block off your out-of-office days.
Mark yourself busy the last day you’re in the office, so you’re unavailable for meetings. Give yourself the time you need to prepare and deal with any last-minute issues.
At the same time, block off your first day back in the office. Who wants to come back from vacation and immediately have to jump into several meetings?
I’ve found that, if something arises and it’s necessary to meet on either of those days, someone will reach out and ask if it is okay. Then it becomes a discussion instead of a given.
2. Share your dates with colleagues
If you’re going to be away for an extended period, give your colleagues a heads-up well in advance.
Send a reminder a week before or mention it in a team meeting. If anything comes up, co-workers have ample time to check in — hopefully not at the moment when you’re trying to walk out the door.
3. Review your work
Be mindful of your recurring tasks and make notes to assign them to teammates.
Prepare your team in advance for the tasks that will need to be handled. No one likes it when assignments get dumped on them at the last minute. Think through who will be responsible for what and bring them into the loop early.
Schedule time with your team a day or two before you go. Review any open questions and assign any lingering items they will need to cover.
4. Set up your out of office email and record your away phone message
Several days before you leave, draft, and set up your automatic out of office email message. Outlook has a timer so that you can schedule the start and end dates in advance.
If you have a designated away phone message option, record it when you set up your out of office email. Add a note to your calendar to activate the message before you leave on your last day.
5. Make it harder to access your email from your phone
Move the email app into a folder.
At first, it’s muscle memory. You mindlessly pick up the phone, and your finger automatically goes to the email app. But, by moving the app into a folder, it makes it just a little harder.
This tactic has been a game-changer for me. I moved my email off my home screen. Now to access my email, I need to swipe and click into a folder. These two simple steps have dramatically cut down how often I check it.
Take Small Steps to Make the Most of Your Time Out of the Office
In this hustle-at-all-costs world where long hours and evening emails are the norms, disconnecting and taking a mental break from work is more important than ever.
By taking small steps in the weeks and days leading up to your time away, you can start your vacation in a good place and make the most of your time out of the office.