5 Tips for Planning a Stress-Free Vacation
Vacations allow us a chance to get away from work, and spend time with loved ones. But it’s hard to relax and unwind with the prospect of a mountain of emails, and catch-up meetings that are waiting for you once you return to work. Sometimes vacation stress is unavoidable, but most times it’s manageable if we’re simply more strategic. Use the tips below for a stress-free vacation.
Blocking out time
Block out your vacation days on your calendar as soon as you choose your time off. This allows you the opportunity to protect the time before and after your vacation from too many commitments. Create a buffer around your time off by avoiding setting meetings close to your vacation and following your return. This allows you a few days before you leave to wrap up projects, take care of important emails, and attend any truly urgent meetings that pop up. Reserve at least the first day that you’re back in the office to get your head back into work and clear out your inboxes. Use your “Out of Office” message on your email and phone wisely. Set your “Out of Office” to begin on the morning of your last day before your vacation.
Make a list
Give your colleagues plenty of notice of your vacation time and if you’ll be asking them to take on more than usual in your absence. Divide work into two lists: One with things you need to get done before you go, and another with items you can tackle when you return. Delegate anything that doesn’t require your hands-on attention. Stuff that does require your personal presence, set aside for your return. Set boundaries with colleagues, such as your desire that they call only in emergencies.
Pack a week ahead
Have everything ready to go at least a week before your vacation. Aim to pack your bags a week before you leave so that you’re not scrambling and forgetting important things. If there are any items that can’t be packed yet because you’ll be using them (cell phone chargers, running shoes), make a list of those items to check the night before. Have passports ready, plane tickets, necessary vaccinations, and notices to credit cards of your travel plans. Preparing a week ahead leaves you some margin for any final packing details or errands.
Dedicate 30 minutes
Most people are now digitally connected to the office 24/7. Often we still need to do some work on vacation. Spend 30 minutes a few times during your vacation to review your emails. Delegate task that need attention immediately, delete any junk email, and add any task to your calendar. This will help you avoid an avalanche of email, and tasks when you return.
Planning your return
Plan your return home that allows for time to unpack, do laundry, and get a good night’s sleep. This also gives you time to plan for your first day back. Have a clear sense of how to approach your first day back in the office.
With these tips, you can relax and unwind on vacation. The key is to plan ahead for a smooth transition. The best vacations allow you to actually enjoy your time off.