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It’s almost 5 p.m. and you’re just hours from hopping
a flight to paradise. All you can think about is sand, blue skies, and warm
temperatures. These last few months on the job have been brutal: late nights,
early mornings, weekends. Your social life is in shreds and you’d pay top
dollar for a full night’s sleep. This vacation is well-earned.

Unfortunately, work doesn’t stop just because you’re
on a break. Emails will continue to fill your inbox, reports will continue to stack
up on your desk, and calls from clients will continue to roll in. Where’s a
pause button when you need one?

Sometimes, it isn’t possible to be unglued completely from
work while on vacation. However, it’s fine to set some boundaries to ensure you’re
getting the rest and relaxation you deserve. The best way to do that is to plan
how you’ll handle any work that could pop up before it happens. It can make the difference
between your time away resembling more of an enjoyable getaway than a working
vacation.

Four Steps
for Dealing With Work While Out of the Office

1.  Prepare for your time away. On your email and voicemail out-of-office messages,
be clear on how long you’ll be gone, your availability (if any), and how you
can be reached if needed. If you have an assistant or a teammate who will cover
your clients while you’re gone, be sure to direct folks to them and routinely
retrieve your messages or have them sent to you. For really urgent matters, consider
allowing your assistant to give out your cell phone number or a private email
address.

2.  Tie up loose ends before you leave. Perhaps nothing is more frustrating than being on vacation with a mind occupied with unfinished tasks. So go ahead and schedule meetings, organize files, and complete your
segment of the team report now. The more you scratch off your list
prior to your vacation, the less you’ll have hanging over your head while away. 

3.  Check email once a day. Be sure to take a peek at your inbox at least once a
day, and the earlier, the better. Decide who gets an immediate response (like
your boss or clients) and which responses can wait until later in the day or those
that can hold off when you return to work. In any situation, keep your responses
brief and avoid heavy back and forth and ongoing discussions with clear and direct
communication.

4. Triage urgent work requests. The third day of your vacation is going swimmingly
until that email from your boss asking for more information to be included in a
white paper and a phone call from a client wanting to discuss your proposal is bookended
with a question from your co-worker about the team report. Sigh. Don’t they
know you’ve got a massage on the beach scheduled for the afternoon? Whether
they do or not isn’t the issue. These are requests that can’t wait so your goal
here is to organize them and quickly get them off your plate so you can go back
to being a beach slug. Tasks that can be knocked off with ease should come
first, followed by those that require more time and attention. Give yourself a
start and end time and then stick to it.

Until next time, hustle hard Homies!