Most of us are tired, and typically say something along the lines of "needing a vacation to recover from a vacation."
I'm convinced that the success or failure of re-entering the workplace is predicated on what happens BEFORE you leave and WHILE you're gone.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE:
- Empty all of your in-boxes. Michael Hyatt gives you the steps to "Declare Email Bankruptcy" if needed. As well, Hyatt blogs about staying on top of email here (the first step will go the furthest to helping you!). Empty all of your work email, personal email and "junk email" (I have one address that I use strictly for contests, promotional events, etc and I check it once or twice a month). As well, empty all of your in-boxes in your social media (Facebook, etc).
- Empty all of your return messages. Take the time to make any phone calls or follow-up emails before you leave so that you come back to a fresh, clean slate. Before I left for vacation I spent several hours on the phone talking to key people that I talk to on a regular basis.
- Empty all of your files. Before vacation I had an estimated 30 files or so on my desk. I've invested in a nice, qwerty-style label maker that I use for filing. All files go into the filing cabinet or the desk files that I keep near me for frequent use.
- Empty your desk. Again, I typically have numerous books, magazines, notepads, etc lying on my desk - they must go away. When I returned to work, I had only a picture of my wife, one of my Bibles, my phone and typical desk-organizational tools. There were no stacks, no files, no books, no magazines.
- Empty your head. Take time to list any important follow-up items that you can't get to before vacation. By doing this, you give yourself permission to totally check out and forget about work.
WHILE YOU'RE GONE:
- Be gone! Don't call. Don't email. Don't "check-in." BE GONE!
- Give yourself permission to forget about work, your responsibilities and what awaits you. You've created an action plan for when you return - forget about work.
- Check out of social media at your pace - I have about 25-30 twitter followers that come to my phone via text - during vacation, that was eliminated. I only checked twitter or Facebook at my pace and only when it wouldn't infringe upon quality family time. For some, you may want to check out entirely. For others, only minimally. Whichever you fit into, let the deciding factor be how it affects your interaction time with others. If social media reminds you of work or projects, then I suggest you check out entirely.
- Don't work. I restricted myself from checking email, making calls, etc. The only interruption I received was from one of our employees (not sure he knew I was on vacation) and he needed a phone number. I took 30 seconds, copied and pasted the number into a text and responded - back to vacation!
- Engage in another story. I usually read fiction while on vacation to engage my mind in someone else's story. That was my intent this time as well - but that's not what happened. As we began together on our journey together as a family, I realized the story I needed to engage was not a fictitious character, but the very real lives of those God has blessed me with. As a result, I was able to connect with my wife, son and daughter on a level was tremendously needed and very enjoyable.
What strategies have you found successful for "checking out" of the workforce?