Don’t let your vacation stress you out

You probably know the feeling.

Your vacation is within reach, but the days leading up to it seem too overwhelming and completely out of control.

You have loads of e-mails that you need to respond to, a number of projects that need to be finalized, and other tasks that need to be delegated to colleagues.

In your gut there is a sense of dread since you feel that everything has to be wrapped up completely before you can leave.

I even have a friend who says that he’s almost ready to give up vacationing altogether, simply because it is too painful to get ready for it.

Sound familiar?

See, the problem is this; in most companies new assignments will keep coming up, so trying to reach the “100% done”-mark means that you need to work non-stop day and night, and even then you may not even get there.

There will always be more to do. More stuff always comes up, more details need to be included and/or a little extra could always be added to certain tasks.

The worst part about it is that you end up starting your vacation with all of your assignments floating around in the back of your mind. As we all know it can take several days to unwind, especially if you don’t reach a certain level of closure before your vacation starts.

And truth be told; your employer is not going to pin medals to your chest for wasting your vacation on worrying about your job. Rather, they probably want you to come back relaxed, well-rested, and ready to go back to work again with a fresh mind.

The secret to how you really get ready for vacation lies, like so many other things, in how well you are prepared.

 Get ready without stress

My tips for you are:

  • Start preparing well ahead of time. If you try to get everything organized with only two days to go, you will most likely have trouble reaching your goal without running frantically.
  • Try to cut a deal with a colleague about handing over some of your projects well before you leave. If you can make the hand off, let’s say a week before your vacation starts, there are several advantages. 1) Your colleague will have an easier time taking care of the task, since you are still there to answer any questions. 2) You are able to concentrate on wrapping up the rest of what’s on your to-do list. If it seems a little odd to ask, remember that the deal goes both ways. Be ready and willing for the hand off when it’s your colleague’s turn to go on vacation.
  • Be realistic in regards to what you want to accomplish before your vacation. For some reason a lot of us seem to think that we can turn into super-beings in this situation and that we are able to get all sorts of projects done. Evaluate your work and if the project can wait, then let it wait.
  • Create a sensible overview of what needs to be done now and what can wait until you get back. Assign dates and actions to everything that needs to be done right after you’re back and add it to your calendar. This way you can rest assured that you don’t forget anything important when you return.
  • Prepare a simple to-do list and place it on the desktop of your computer. This way you can empty your head of activities and actions, which makes it so much easier to actually relax. Then when you return, you are up to speed in no time and can go through your list.

I hope these tips were useful for you and you’re welcome to share your best tips on how you get ready for vacation and unwinding. I’d love to hear them.

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About the author  Lise Halskov

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