It’s vacation time! You may have already blocked out a week or two for a relaxing summer trip to the shore, a family excursion or touring a foreign country. Regardless of your destination, you will want to minimize the amount of time you spend working while you are enjoying your time away. Making the most of your time in the office by getting organized prior to your departure can make all the difference as you clear your desk and cross task after task off your to-do list.
Here are some organizing tips for keeping and making these last weeks in the office before your vacation extremely productive.
1. Create a Plan. Your countdown to vacation should begin two to three weeks prior to your last day in the office. That’s the time to make a list of all of those tasks that need to be completed before you take off for your well-deserved vacation. Be sure that your list is as complete as possible, and recognize that you will probably have to add a few more to do’s to the list over the next week or two. However, this is not the time to take on any new projects unless it is an extremely urgent situation.
2. Prioritize Your To Do’s. Now that you have created a list of all of the tasks that need to be addressed, it is time to review the list with a very critical eye. The only tasks that should remain on the list are those that MUST be completed by you before your vacation. Any tasks that can wait until you return should be added to your post-vacation to-do list along with a tentative completion date.
3. Delegate. There is nothing like an impending vacation to create a sudden desire to delegate. While you probably should have been doing this all along, take full advantage of the timing and delegate tasks to staff, colleagues, or an assistant. In all probability, some of these tasks can be permanently delegated so this would be a win-win. You can get the tasks crossed off your list and your staff has the opportunity to take on additional responsibilities.
4. Block Time. You have a very real deadline for getting all your work done before leaving for vacation. In order to ensure that you can walk out the door without worrying about the loose ends that still need to be tied up, you should assess the amount of time needed to complete all of the key tasks or projects. Then, proactively block time on your calendar to do the work. You may want to over-estimate the amount of time needed by 15-20% as it is best to have extra time set aside than to have to carve out additional time to complete the work.
5. Post-Vacation To Do’s. As your departure date gets closer, inevitably there will be tasks that pop up that will have to wait to be addressed upon your return. This is a great time to start a post-vacation to do list so that you don’t forget what needs to be done upon your return. In addition, as you are reviewing your to do list during those last couple of days in the office, there are bound to be tasks that you haven’t gotten to that can really wait until after your vacation. Add them to this list as well.