|No-Stress Return – Five Steps to De-stress Your return to Work|
A vacation is supposed to be rejuvenating, but that can’t happen if you know that when you return to the office you will be overwhelmed with a pile of work. Follow these five steps to make returning from vacation a breeze.
- Plan ahead. You planned your trip, now plan your work. You know you will be out for a week or even two. Work harder before you go to finalize as much as possible before you take off. Adding an extra 30 minutes of focused time per day for the two weeks prior to leaving will give you plenty of extra time to get ahead. This 30 minutes doesn’t have to be “extra time in the office.” It has to be planned time dedicated to working ahead. You know you waste at least that much time each day on Facebook or ESPN, but for two weeks prior to your vacation FOCUS that time on working ahead.
- Delegate. We all like to feel that we are indispensible, but an indication of a good leader is that the organization or department could function without you. No matter what your level in your organization, it is smart business to develop someone to take your place. When you leave for vacation, have that individual prepared to handle most day-to-day issues. Then, trust them to do it. Delegate to the right person, understand their capabilities and then step away and allow them to shine.
- Use your outlook out of office feature. Don’t just send a return stating that you are out of the office, let people know who can help them while you are out. And even better, set up an automatic forward to someone (see number 1) who can respond to your emails while you are away. That way when you return to work you don’t have to deal with every issue, only the important ones.
- Physically, clear your desk before you leave your office. I tell my time management clients to have a drawer in their desk with 12 monthly hanging folders and one set of file folders numbered 1 – 31. If it is July, the numbered files are in the July folder. Take each item off your desk and decide exactly when it must be dealt with. If it is something that doesn’t need to be addressed until September, drop it in the September file. If it needs finalized by July 19, put it in the July folder in the file numbered 19. By doing this, you keep track of all the little things that need to be done but you aren’t distracted by each thing every time you glance at it on your desk. Returning from vacation to a cleared desk helps alleviate stress.
- Dedicate a one-hour time-frame to your work while you are on vacation. If you are gone for two weeks, make it a one-hour time-frame for each week. Call your office, check your voicemails, and respond if necessary. Give work your full attention for one hour. Hold yourself to that one hour and then stop thinking about it. Putting work out of your mind totally for a week or two makes it harder to get back in the work mind set when you return. By allowing yourself the freedom to focus on it for a small period of time while away, you will feel less stressed both while you are away and when you return.