Monday, August 24, 2009


Had a conversation with someone this morning at the coffee machine and they were moaning about being back at work after a vacation. I'm no expert on vacations, I tend to take vacation days one at a time. (I think I'm only planning to be in the office three Fridays in September and October this year.)

But I think my friend make a fatal flaw in her vacation schedule... you gotta ease out and ease in.

Ease out... many people start their vacations at 5 pm Friday and end it on Monday at 8 am. If, for instance, they're taking a week, they think this gives them a nine-day vacation. That thinking is flawed. Saturday (and possibly Sunday) occur as normal on your way out. Not only that, but all your colleagues are also gunning for 5 pm on Friday, which means they're not stopping to think about the fact that you're going to be gone. So, ease out. Take your leave mid-week. This really puts you in vacation-mode right off the bat -- you're at home while all your co-workers are still at work. Muwahahaha. On top of that, book the last few hours of your last day in the office to make sure no one can get you in a meeting. That allows you to wrap up details and remind your colleages (multiple times) that you're going to be gone. (Also, this allows you to travel on a weekday or very early on a Saturday and get a jump on the other travellers.)

On your way back, you have the usual Sunday afternoon stuff before heading back in.

Ease in... if you're dragging yourself in Monday morning, so is everyone else. And you complain about being back from a vacation, you're going to get no love. But, if you come in mid-week, you're a fresh face helping bolster everyone mid-week. But, if you come in mid-week, come in swinging. The worst thing you can do is come in and then hide in front of your computer with mounds of email. Easy solution - work from home your first day back. Download all your mail, disconnect, and start plowing through. Reconnect when you've done all you can. That prevents you from seeing new mail while you try to catch up, and prevents your mail from getting out there and generating new mail. (Sadly, my email program won't do that - it will stop incoming, but will continue sending out my responses - unless I completely disconnect but then I lose access to some things I need.)

Then wander back into the office around 2 pm. (Maybe bring in doughnuts or coffee. A nice touch I just thought of.)

And if traveling, pad your trip, before and after, in order to to do packing and unpacking. (For our last trip, Corey and Gilda gave us five nights at a World Mark resort. That means we had a kitchen and washer and dryer in our unit - so we actually returned home with all of our clothes already clean. That was nice.)