Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
Have you ever come back from some time off from work to find absolute chaos? Your email overflowing, tasks strewn everywhere, people clamoring for information and dozens of voice mail?
Most people will take some time off over the holidays. Setting things up ahead of time can make easing back into the work flow faster and more productive. Here are 4 things to do before leaving work on holiday:
Set Up Your Email
The first thing to do before you leave is to get to inbox zero, that is nothing in your inbox that needs to be dealt with.
File it, delegate it or take care of it. If it is going to take more time than you have right now, put it on a list of things to get back to, and flag the message so you will remember to deal with it when you get back.
If you don’t have filters set up, do so. Most of the email I get at my client site does not pertain to what I am doing (1000+ emails a day, and it will only get worse as tax season approaches). Filters dump these emails right into the trash. The rest of my email pertains to two projects, and each has a separate staff. Filters dump the email from these people into the right folders, so I know that everything for each project is together. Everything that is left needs to be dealt with in a one-off situation; most of it can be deleted outright.
Lastly, right before you leave, set up a vacation auto-responder. Give the date you will be back in the office, and the name, email and phone number of the person who can help with anything that comes up in the meantime.
Ask the person handling your work to copy you on emails so that you can followup that things have been taken care of. Most issues will be taken care of.
Make A List
A few days before you leave, start making a list of everything that you have that is not complete. Give a succinct title, but also exactly where things stand and what needs to be done next.
Not only will that give you a list of things to work from as you complete as much as possible before leaving, but it will provide a list of things you are working on when you get back. No more wracking your brain to remember what state your projects are in!
Check With Others
We delegate things and we have things delegated to us.
Make a list of everything you are waiting for, as well as the person responsible. Ask for a status in the week before you leave and make a note of it on the list. If someone says they will have something to you on 3 January, you now have a date to followup.
The same goes for the things that are delegated to you. As far as possible, try to get these things wrapped up; but for those you can’t, estimate how much longer it will take you and make a list of both the item and remaining effort. Update the person who asked for it and give them an estimate of when you will have it to them, adjusting for your time away.
Forward Your Phone
It is frustrating to call someone and leave a message just to hear nothing back. Change your voice mail response to indicate you will be out of the office and who should be contacted in the meantime. Also include when (or if) you will be checking messages.
Then, to keep the annoyance to your co-workers to a minimum, forward your phone so it goes directly to voice mail when it rings.
By setting up filters on email, leaving vacation information on your email and phone, listing your projects and figuring out where you stand on delegation, you will be up and running very quickly after time off. And best of all, you won’t have to think about work, because you know it is all organized and ready to go when you get back.
Do you have any must-dos before you leave for a holiday? Share below.
Photo by mkosut