Everyone needs downtime from their busy careers in order to take care of their mental, psychological, and physical health.
However, the thought of having to leave your tasks or rely on colleagues to cover for you can be an uncomfortable feeling for most. So, here’s a checklist that could help you prepare yourself before going on a much-needed vacation.
Ask for a Vacation Leave Early
Choosing your time off early means that you get first dibs on the dates. The earlier it is, the more time you have to strategize on how to delegate and accomplish work-related things before you leave.
It would be better if your team will choose off days as a group so as to avoid disagreements and conflicting schedules. Through this strategy, the team can split the schedule so that there will always be someone to cover.
Enlist a Back-up Team
Choose one point person or several reliable colleagues to cover for you with the help of your manager. If you’re the boss, then delegating your tasks can help empower people by letting them try out new things and test their aptitude in bigger responsibilities.
You can also use this opportunity to test someone whom you’re considering to promote. However, don’t add more burden to those who already have a lot on their plate and instead give a chance to those who are willing to take on more tasks.
Share Your Scheduled Time Off
Clients, suppliers, and key colleagues should be informed a month ahead about your scheduled leave from work. This is to also prepare them if they need something from you. You can ask them what needs to be done or what can be pushed back and they can also make a plan from their end.
List Down and Accomplish Your To-Dos
Make a to-do list by asking yourself what tasks are essential, what are things that you can delegate, and how urgent are your must-dos.
After determining a plan, inform your manager and the team so that they’ll know which tasks you will accomplish before you leave and which will be done by the time you get back. Try to automate things that can be scheduled so you can accomplish these ahead.
Prepare Your Back-up Team
Telling someone to cover for you and them agreeing is not enough. You have to equip them with the necessary information and materials in order to get the job done. A week before you leave, go over a detailed list of projects and daily tasks with your back-up team.
Also, store files that may be needed in the days ahead in a location that the team can readily access. You can also bring them with you to important meetings and introduce them to colleagues and clients as the designated contact person on your behalf.
Set an Out-of-Office Autoreply
Write a brief and concise message as an autoreply for your email as a notice that you’re on leave. However, make sure not to overshare and go into detail about what you will be doing. To help the person who’ll cover for you, make a FAQ document with answers to questions you usually get via email.
Create Rules for Working While on a Holiday—and Follow Them
There are those who can’t really unplug and have to check up on work from time to time. In order to avoid ruining your vacation mood, you can schedule short windows in between activities with your travel companions where you can squeeze in a call or an email. But, make sure that you won’t go over that set duration.
Bring a Notebook
Vacation time is a chance to reset and clear your mind outside of the stressors of work. And with that peace of mind, you may be able to think of ideas, insights, and solutions. Jot these things down on a handy notebook for you to refer to by the time you get back to work.
Have a Buffer on Your First Day Back to Work
After a much-needed break, you’re most probably still on vacation hangover. If you can control your schedule, try not to set meetings on your first day back to work. Also, before catching up on your email, ask everyone what you have missed and which tasks should be attended to first.
Save yourself from the anxiety and overwhelming feeling of seeing a ton of emails in your inbox by stepping back and sorting them out first.
Make a quick pass on the unread messages and prioritize messages from important people like your boss and big clients.
After going through these, sort the emails by date and check the urgency of replying to them.