We know the truth of it.  Vacations help us rest, recharge, and return to work a better human being.  So, why has this truth not set us free from the worry about what we are leaving behind and what we will return to?

It’s summer and time to go to the beach.  So, let’s make it a work-free beach trip this year.  Here are some tips to focus on your loved ones and experience a truly restful vacation.


Two to three weeks prior to departure:

  • Deal with any meetings that are scheduled during your vacation.  Send a delegate, cancel it, or reschedule the meeting.
  • Consider what decisions need to be made in your absence.  Empower others with the knowledge to make those decisions on your behalf.
  • Examine any open projects.  Are there deliverables due the week you are on vacation?  Reschedule those dates.
  • Block off your calendar the day you return for re-entry.

One week prior to departure:

  • Meet one-on-one with all direct reports (or key business associates) to review current issues.  Attend to priority issues ASAP.
  • Schedule one-on-one meetings with these same associates early in the week you return.  Request that they hold all non-urgent issues until then.

The last work day before vacation:

  • Leave a detailed extended absence greeting on your voice mail.  Give the name and number of a person to contact while you are gone.  Tell callers that you will return calls by close of business of the second day after your return.
  • Write an out of office email.  Specify that you will not have access to email and give names of people who can respond in your absence.
  • Take a walk through your office area and let people know what time today you will be leaving for vacation.

On vacation:

  • Trade phones with your spouse or traveling buddy
  • Relax and enjoy

Your first day back:

  • Take a walk through your office area; get caught up on urgent issues.
  • Check your voice mail and email.  Deal with priority situations first.
  • Save your favorite vacation photo as your new computer desktop background

Remember that time does fly, whether you’re having fun or just plain busy.  The only way to “stop” time is to punctuate it with key experiences and events that make you pause to remember.  Without vacations, our years may end up being a blur of busyness and stress.  I encourage you to separate your vacations from your work and enjoy those relationships and memories that you build.

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Dr. Melissa Gratias, MBG Organizing SolutionsDr. Melissa Gratias (pronounced "Gracious") is a work psychologist who helps overwhelmed and underappreciated businesspeople be more focused and effective. Since 2007, thousands of people have graduated with honors from her onsite sessions, distance coaching, productivity seminars, and corporate consulting projects. Based in Savannah, Georgia, Melissa is available for nationwide consulting and speaking engagements. Contact her via email at [email protected] or call 912-417-2505. Sign up for her free monthly e-newsletter or visit her website,

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