Leave It All Behind: 6 Tips to Prepare for Your Summer Vacation

summer vacation checklist

Plane tickets? Check. Hotel confirmed? Check. Your bag is stocked with sunscreen and beach reads, and you’re ready for some well-deserved R&R. But it might be difficult to relax if you know chaos at the office awaits your return. Try ticking these six items off your office checklist before heading out to enjoy your vacation time:

1. Cover your bases. As soon as you set the dates for your trip, talk with your colleagues about the things they may need to do in your absence. Try splitting up your tasks among several coworkers so no one feels too overwhelmed, and be sure to offer to reciprocate when their vacations come around. Once you know who’s doing what, let your boss know which staff members will be covering for you.

2. Be selective with your contact info. Though your colleagues will rest easier knowing how to reach you in case of an emergency, constant calls about minor matters could disrupt your beach time. Choose one or two trusted coworkers as designated points of contact, and let them know what constitutes a real emergency. When you set your out-of-office voicemail and automatic email response, include your chosen contacts’ phone and email information so people know whom to turn to while you’re away.

3. Reach out to high-priority clients. Whether you’re in the middle of a big project or deal with important customers on a regular basis, let the key players know the dates you’ll be away from the office and whom to contact during your vacation. Also, ask whether there’s anything you can do for them before you leave. They’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness, and the advance warning might prevent any potential problems from arising while you’re gone. 

4. Make two to-do lists. The first list should include the most urgent tasks and projects you absolutely must finish before your vacation. The second is for those items that you can take care of when you return. Consider putting in a few extra hours at work before your trip, so you won’t have a massive workload waiting to welcome you back to the office. Not only will it make those first few days back more manageable, it will also help you enjoy your vacation to the fullest.

5. Create a schedule for the week you return. Take note of any meetings or deadlines, and make appointments with your points of contact to catch up on what you missed. Knowing what awaits you — and knowing that it’s manageable — will make returning to the office much easier.

6. Organize your workspace. Right before you leave, take some time to clear the cubicle clutter. File any loose documents, tidy up your personal items and organize the folders on your computer’s desktop. Returning to a neat, clean workspace will help you hang on to that recharged, post-vacation feeling and tackle your work with renewed energy.

The benefits of taking a break from work can be quickly negated if you return to stressed-out coworkers, anxious clients and an impossible workload. By taking the time to plan and prepare in advance, you’ll be able to rest easy while you’re away and also ensure that the break will mean you’re more productive when you return.

How do you prepare for vacation? Share your tips in the comments below.