I recently returned from a week’s vacation where I did not check in with the office or read work emails (much). I suspect most people won’t believe that, but it’s true. I knew I needed a vacation to recharge. And that’s just what I did.
To ensure that I would be able to disconnect, I took some steps that might be helpful to you. Here are the four steps I took –
Plan ahead: I scheduled no new meetings the three days before I left for vacation. This ensured that I did not get new assignments. I also spent those last three days wrapping up projects.
Identify who can help: I let my boss and others with whom I frequently interact know who would be my back-up. I also set my out-of-office on my email and voice mail. Nothing is more frustrating to someone who is trying to reach you and they don’t know you are out of the office.
Set parameters: I told key people that if they needed me to mark URGENT in the subject line. Those would be the only emails I would read. Fortunately, I never received any. It helped that I planned my time away during a slow week.
Schedule your return: I kept my out-of-office on for the first Monday back. I blocked the entire day to connect with colleagues to see what I needed to immediately address. Once I handled those tasks, I responded to emails, many of which at this point could simply be deleted.
By day’s end, I was caught up and ready for the next big project. I still have plenty of energy from the vacation, too.