Preparing for Vacation

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With careful planning, you can enjoy a vacation. (Photo by Cynthia Price)

I recently returned from an almost two-week vacation and was disconnected from work the entire time. How was that possible given the following news?

In a May 2018 report by CBS News roughly 56 percent of workers surveyed that year said they touch base with work when they’re supposed to be taking a vacation break — up from 41 percent of workers in 2016. The survey included more than 2,800 workers from 28 U.S. markets.

Equally telling is that American workers forfeited nearly 50 percent of their paid vacation in 2017. And, nearly 10 percent take no vacation days at all. According to a study by Glassdoor, the fear of falling behind is the number one reason people aren’t using their vacation time.

For me it was all about pre- and post-planning. My pre-planning included limiting meetings in the two days prior to my departure. I also compiled a list of major projects with their status. I shared this with my team and boss so everyone knew where critical pieces stood. Colleagues agreed to keep two of the projects moving.

I also asked my team to send me an email each Friday with a summation of the week. This included updates on my projects as well as their work. They also included some fun details, which made me feel more connected.

This summation enabled me to delete lots of emails because I already knew the requests had been handled.

Upon my return, I blocked my calendar for my first morning back to the office. This allowed me to focus on my projects that needed action. In the remaining hour, I scheduled follow-up meetings and responded to emails. I also held a team meeting for quick updates.

By day’s end, I was back in the thick of things — feeling good about work and still reveling in my vacation respite.

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