Vacation Time: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY Vacations: The very word stirs a whirlwind of emotions across the workplace. You happily daydream about getting away, doing something fun, hanging out with the family. Then stressful reality hits. Someone has to cover for you while you’re away. The dreaded “What if …?” situations pry into your vacation fantasies. What if that demanding client calls? What if my coworker forgets about that deadline? What if my supervisor calls? Vacations: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. A little planning can help you avoid the emotional chuck wagon. Vacations, after all, are supposed to be refreshing. THE GOOD VACATION PLANNING You’ve got your itinerary. Get ready to roll. WEEK BEFORE: PRIORITIZE: Contact clients; let them know your plans, see if they need anything before you go. Do what you can before you go, but know you won’t get it all done. NOTES TO COWORKERS: MAKE A CHECKLIST: List outstanding workloads, who is filling in for you and where the files are. SET UP AUTOREPLY (email and voice mail): Note what you need to do when you get back. Disclose when you’ll be back and who to contact while you’re gone. CLEAN UP YOUR DESK. THE BAD TECH RULES: TECH RULES 2: TRUST AND EMPOWER: Do you check email? Voice mail? How often? Set rules and stick to them (as much as possible). Messages will pile up while you’re gone. They’ll be there when you get back. Try not to think about it. This can be especially difficult for some. You can’t do it all, you can’t always be there, regardless of what you’d like to think. COWORKERS: COWORKERS 2: Who is doing what parts of your job? Work with them before you go. They’ll be fine. Remember, it’ll be your turn to fill in soon. Do unto others … THE UGLY BACK AT WORK, TAKE A DEEP BREATH. PACE YOURSELF. TRIAGE: PURGE: Set aside the morning to catch up. Check voice mail and email. Check in with coworkers to see what you missed. Notice those subject lines with “Re: (subject)”? Skim messages from the newest to oldest, deleting the older ones. That way, you don’t spend time re-reading chains of communication or respond prematurely. MEETINGS: BACK TO THE GRIND: Put off until your second day back, if possible. It takes a few days, but you’ll soon be back on schedule. Before long, you’ll be ready for your next vacation.