What to Do at Work Before Going on Vacation

I was reading my Google Reader blogs earlier this week and came across this timely post. (Well, it was timely three or four days ago when I started to reblog it and then all hell broke loose with WordPress… but I digress…)

Anyway, although I’m not really going on vacation, I will be gone from the office for four whole weeks!! Since today was my last day, I thought I’d check on how I did with preparing myself and my office for my departure:

1) Wrap up any unfinished business: Before you say, “see you later” to work, finish up as many projects as you can — this also includes getting through all of your email. […] If it’s impossible to finish every task on your desk, leave yourself notes about the status of where you’re at and touch base with any colleagues that are working on these projects with you.

Yuppers. Definitely did not wrap up every project, but we have more ‘events’ than projects. I think everyone is well enough informed on what is going on and Kobie is more than capable of fielding any questions or problems that come up.

2) Clean your work area: […] Before going on vacation, file away anything that’s on your desk, clean out and organize your drawers, and give your workstation a good wipe down. It’s such a simple thing to do, but coming back to a clean desk makes returning to work much easier.

I’ll go you one better: Kobie and I completely cleaned, rearranged and reorganised the office. It is so much more open and bright now – goodbye big divider barrier thing, hello improved storage thanks to a repurposed book shelf. Very pleased with the result. And everything is off my desk, and my desk is clean and shiney. Awesome feeling of accomplishment. I only wish I had taken photos! The before and after would have really surprised you!

3) Let people know you will be away: Coming back to an inbox overflowing with emails or a maxed-out voicemail is enough to make anyone wish they never left the resort. […] Talk to your immediate team and co-workers about how to best deal with things while you’re gone, and set up a detailed out-of-office reply for both your email and phone line. Include the dates you’ll be away and a person that can be contacted in your absence. […]

This is not an easy thing to do, since I don’t have the Out of Office Assistant installed on my computer. What’s with that anyway? I emailed the IT guys, but it didn’t get fixed before I left.

No worries, I sent out an email reminding everyone I’m away, and that they should call Kobie for any needs. And I spoke to the team, and provided a pretty detailed list of stuff that needs to get done, so the basics should be covered. And it’s not like there’s anything that might come up that can’t be handled by the staff. We’re not bomb technicians or anything. 🙂

4) Start work in advance: If you have any free time before leaving on a trip, try to get a jump-start on work. Craft a to-do list that you can dive into when you return, schedule any future meetings, or start in on any projects that you already know are in the works. A head start will help to make your transition back to work smooth and stress-free.

via What to Do at Work Before Going on Vacation.

Cool! That’s a great idea. I did book two major meetings and crafted a future project to do list and I feel really good about it, about having a plan for when I get back. I gathered up a few things I might want to look at while I am away, and a separate notebook just for work stuff if I feel like jotting down notes about any of those projects/ideas. But I haven’t set up any expectations for myself to work on them while I am doing this course.

That said, I often find that when I am out of my regualr routine I feel more creative aond open to new ideas. I think I can probably work on a few of those ideas without the stress of every day activities niggling at me. I think they’ll be fun distractions from the pressure of studying, and the study might even give me great NEW ideas to consider that I hadn’t thought of before!

Anyway, I feel pretty well prepared for my time away. I hope everyone else feels the same way too!

Are you heading away at Christmas? Do you have a lot of stuff that needs to get wrapped up or can you just walk away from your desk and get back to it when you return?

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