As July vacationers return to work and the August crowd takes off, the summer vacation season is already in full swing. You’ve been looking forward to it for months and now you’re counting down the days until you can say goodbye to your co-workers and catch some rays on the beach.
But have you made sure to take care of all the final details so you can fully enjoy your vacation? Here are a few tips to help ensure peace of mind as you leave work for the summer.
Before leaving, it’s essential that you review the list of tasks you still have to do and make sure you aren’t forgetting anything. Time to gather up those Post-It notes lying around your desk, the 73 pending tasks in Outlook, and the 12 project schedules in Excel and compile them all in one place.
To optimize your time, you may want to use a task management application that will help you to organize and plan your projects and make the most of your time.
Once you’ve prepared your to-do list, check the deadlines for each item and prioritize your tasks. With the countdown to vacation ticking away, you won’t be able to get everything done. Instead, focus on the most critical tasks and put off less pressing items until after you return.
Even if you’re a master of organization, you may not quite manage to wrap up all of your projects in time and some may need to be completed during your time off. To avoid any panic attacks on the beach, hand these urgent tasks over to a colleague you trust.
Two weeks before leaving, organize a meeting to explain the issues involved in each task. Your co-worker will then have time to ask you questions before you leave and will have your projects well in hand while you’re gone. Who knows—maybe they’ll even hold onto those projects after you come back 😉.
Spread the word to the people around you and start by telling your co-workers the dates when you’ll be gone. This will save you from being flooded with unwanted work emails every day of your 3-week vacation.
The next step is to inform your regular contacts: customers, vendors, etc. Tell them about your upcoming vacation too so that they won’t be concerned.
Finally, don’t forget to set up your out-of-office email. The key words here are “concise” and “specific”. List the exact dates when you’ll be gone and include contact information for the colleagues who are taking over for you (note to self: buy them a beer when you get back!).
It can be tough coming back to work after 3 weeks of sipping cocktails on a terrace, especially if your office looks like a war zone.
Make time in the last few days to straighten up your desk: sort your files, tidy up your work area, and throw out the old granola bar hiding way at the back of that drawer.
And to help you ease back into your job, keep a light schedule for your first few days back. Don’t schedule any important appointments on the first day and avoid scheduling back-to-back meetings. That way, you won’t feel completely swamped by the end of your first week back at work.
At long last, the day you’ve been waiting for has arrived. You’ve replied to your last email, said goodbye with a wink and a smirk to your co-workers who are still stuck at the office, and now you’re ready to start your vacation with a clear conscience.
One final tip for making the most of your vacation: disconnect! Spend time with your family and friends, relax, and don’t feel guilty about deactivating your work email on your smartphone.
Grab your flip-flops and your swimsuit and go have some fun in the sun!