26 Jul How to catch up on your post-vacation work the smart way
Whether you were enjoying palm trees, mountains, a desert escape or the peace of your backyard, nothing ruins your vacation vibe like returning to work with stacks of other people’s needs on your desk. But don’t panic yet. Getting caught up will always be stressful, but with a little forethought and a few simple steps, you can make your return smoother.
Before you go
- Rely on your coworkers to help you do essentials while you’re gone.This may require a little bit of training before you depart, but handing someone else the reins can save you and your company a headache while you’re gone.
- Make sure everyone knows you’re gone.Set an automatic response for your email and phone to let your contacts know you are out. For emergency tasks, let people know who they should contact in your absence. Make sure you remember to turn off your message when you return, although it may be helpful to keep those messages on for a few hours after you’re back to build in some interruption-free time for you to catch up.
- Organize your space.Even if your desk is “organized chaos”, it’s easy to forget where you placed things after a week or two. Add a week’s heap of mail on top, and you may have a magnificent mess on your return. Save yourself some time and thoroughly clean your workspace of any unnecessary clutter before you leave.
- Have a plan of attack.It’s easy to be overwhelmed, so write a realistic list of priorities for your first day back, and focus on one task at a time while completing your list. Build some transition time into your first day back, so avoid filling your first day with meetings, and cut out distractions like phone calls and social media for a few hours.
- Sort through your email the smart way.Nothing accumulates more quickly than email, and the worst part is most of the messages clogging your box seem to be irrelevant or just plain spam. Instead of going through your email chronologically, consider searching by sender or subject to find the most relevant email first.
- Relax.Recognize it will take time to catch up. It may feel like you don’t have a moment to spare for breaks, but taking a breather for your brain can improve your focus, not to mention your mood, so force yourself to take a few minutes to relax every hour or so. Consider scheduling something fun to do after work to relieve yourself of any post-vacation blues.
Upon your return