By Marilyn Bohn
Preparing at work for your vacation involves more than just getting rid of clutter on your desk. Are you worried the entire time you are away from your office under the guise of "being on a vacation"? Are you one of those people who feel pressured to be "at work" even when they are away from the office? I pass people in the airport typing away on their laptops or drafting letters and memos on the plane. I suspect others flip through channels in the hotel room yet their mind is on work. And they say they are "on vacation".
There are solutions to this problem of the body being on vacation but the mind stuck in the office.
1. Leave work at work.
Before you leave take care of as many things as you can. Return phone calls, respond to letters and inform important contacts of the dates you will be out of the office and unavailable. Clear your calendar. Get rid of as many distractions as you can. Give yourself permission to let it go. Once you walk out the door close your mind to work until you return. If you find yourself thinking about work yell inside your mind STOP and return to the present moment.
2. They can live without you.
*As long as you have prepared your staff or your co-workers to deal with emergencies that may arise while you are gone your office will not fall apart without you. Leave written instructions on how to handle specific situations while you are gone if you feel they are potential problem situations.
*If possible have your voicemail transferred to the appropriate person so clients will still be able to have their questions answered or at the least talk to a person and be told when you will be back in the office.
*There are times when a true emergency happens. Let your co-workers and office staff know what you consider to be an emergency and would be an acceptable reason to interrupt your vacation. There will be less panic when key people know how to get in touch with you if they absolutely have to.
3. The other part of going on vacation is returning.
*It is amazing how many telephone messages, emails, and unopened mail you will have when you return. Inform clients you will be back in the office one day later than you will actually arrive. Then set aside your first day back for getting organized and getting rid of clutter that accumulated in your work space while you were gone. It always seems like there is a lot of stuff dropped off when you aren't there to monitor it and remind people to put things in your In-box--not on your desk.
*On the first day you are back don't schedule any meetings, no client appointments and no new projects. This is the day to read your emails, listen to voice message and go through your mail. As you do this, organize them in order of priority. Now you know what is most pressing. Starting at the top of the list work your way down. Or write out your list and prioritize by putting numbers next to the order they need to taken care of.
*Go through the papers that have stacked up and sort into three piles--"to delegate", "action items", and "to file". Pass on the "to delegate" pile as quickly as possible so that person can work it into their schedule. If there is reference material to be read later; file it in your reference file. The stack remaining will seem a lot less overwhelming.
By following these simple tips your vacation will be more fun and less stressful. You will also not dread coming back to work as you know how to organize all the paper and emails that pile up while you are gone.
Marilyn Bohn is the owner of Get it Together Organizing, a business dedicated to developing practical organizing solutions that help individuals and business professionals live clutter-free and productive lives. She is the author of "Go Organize! Conquer Clutter in Three Simple Steps" and is an experienced, enthusiastic public speaker, a member of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) and the author of hundreds of articles covering various organizing topics. Marilyn takes the often stressful subject of organizing and breaks it down into her simple, easy to understand system. Her methods are both eye-opening and encouraging! She has a passion for helping others reach their personal goals and living a better, clutter-free life!
Marilyn offers personal, private consulting to assist in organizing and she invites you to sign up for free organizing tips at her website http://www.marilynbohn.com
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