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Returning to work after vacation? Keep Your Sanity With These Tips!


Ahh, Vacation. Vacation is a marvelous time to get away with friends, family, or perhaps even solo and relax. Leaving for Vacation is super stressful, especially if it arrives right after a busy season in your job. For me, Holy Week (the week preceding Easter) is super stressful and busy. 

This year, I decided to go on vacation Easter Monday, so that meant not only did I need to get everything for Holy Week finished, I also needed to prep everything and get coverage for all details for the week and half while I was gone! 

Then, I return home and am hit with a large to-do list, lots of emails, and those things that "happened while the Deacon was away that she was not aware of to begin with". It makes life very interesting! 

Well, here are some of my top tips of how to navigate life after vacation:

1) Try to schedule an extra "home" day in, if you can. This trip, I was not able too, but a day between returning from vacation away and home is well worth it. On this day, you can sort out laundry, unpack, visit the grocery, get your family's priorities in order, and gradually ease into daily routines. 

2) If you can't schedule a day between returning home from vacation and returning to work, try to schedule a low-key work day your first day back, especially if you took an extended time away. A day full of meetings, calls, and special events won't do you any good! You will feel scattered and unfocused all day!

3) The very first task I do is pull out my calendar and make a list of the top priorities for the next couple of days. What absolutely HAS to be done to meet deadlines? What can I put off until I'm resettled? 

4) The second task I focus on is that dreaded email inbox.  If you are like me, checking work email is NOT a priority when on vacation. In fact, make sure you put up those vacation responders, disable your phone notifications, and if you have too- turn off your phone to spend time with your friends and family. Walking back into your job (whether home or office) after an extended time away means your inbox will be full. 

  • Set a time-line to go through your email. Maybe it's only 20 or 30 minutes. Otherwise, you can waste half a day sorting through it. Can't finish it all? Return to it the next morning, and the next, until it's cleared. Don't feel like you have to get through it all in one setting!
  • Next, scan through and delete all junk emails. This will clear up your inbox greatly! 
  • Work your way through the remainder. I like to work backwards to forwards so that if its an email chain, I catch the beginning first and not be confused. You will be able to figure out priority status. Respond to high priorities, make a list or note of the medium to lows that you can respond later. 
5) Spend some time checking in with your colleagues. If you are a solo business owner, you probably still have someone you need to check in with. 

I usually try to speak with both of immediate colleagues, then call a few key volunteers that took over responsibilities for me while I'm away. General conversation, asking questions about life while you were away, and being aware of any issues will prevent you from being blind sided! 

For example, I found out by talking with one of our volunteers that the Church Council decided to sell our church bus due to some maintenance issues. This issue was not mentioned to me before I left, so it was very interesting news to hear from both her, then later, a colleague! 

6) It's very easy to get sunk under tasks when returning to work after vacation. Make sure to schedule time off and time for yourself/ family so that you don't end up in the same status you left in- exhausted and tired of people! Even though you just came back, it doesn't mean that you have to work 6 or 7 days in a row with no break, even if others expect you too!

What tips or suggestions do you have returning to work after vacation? 

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