12 Simple Steps To Prepare For Your Next Day Off

It’s time. You’re in urgent need for some time to yourself, away from the office and disconnected from work. You’re ready to go on vacation — or just take a day off to meditate, à la Don Draper.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Vacation doesn’t only reduce stress. It can also boost productivity and creativity. Seventy-five percent of HR managers agree that taking time off leads to higher performance among their staff. But some of the top reasons workers say they don’t go on vacation is because they’re afraid of returning to a mountain of work or think no one else can do their job. Planning ahead, prioritizing your work, and delegation can help you avoid these barriers.

If you’re a manager, this is an opportunity for you to empower your staff by trusting them in your absence. It’s also a good opportunity to let them know they’re entitled to take a break, too.

Here are a few tips for how to take the pressure off of you and your team before you disconnect:

Before you make plans...

All systems are a go...

  • Block your calendar as out of office or unavailable on your days off
  • Consider adding your vacation to your colleagues' and boss' calendar as an easy reminder (if you do, remember to mark the time as "free" or "available" before sending the invite)

Two weeks out...

  • Make a list of what you need to accomplish before you leave
  • Talk to your boss about what you will finish before you leave, what needs to move forward while you're out, and who has the bandwidth to cover for you
  • Let your colleagues and clients know the dates you will be on vacation and who will be the point of contact in your absence
  • Start to think about anything you will need to be ready for upon your return so you can ease back in with limited surprises

The day (or two) before you leave...

  • Provide your boss and designated point(s) of contact the status and next steps for your projects so they feel comfortable moving ahead in your absence and know everything is covered
  • Send a reminder that you will be unavailable
  • Write a great out-of-office email
  • Schedule team alignment meetings for when you return

After you’ve checked off these things, turn off email notifications on your phone and enjoy your time off. You deserve it.

February 10, 2017