Vacation with no regrets

It’s not a secret that every good vacation needs some planning. However, this article isn’t about choosing a destination, finding the cheapest tickets, or deciding what to pack. This one is on how to prepare yourself mentally and what preparations to take before leaving your team or company for a vacation period and come back with minimum or no setbacks.

Understandably, no one wants to waste one or two weeks of vacation stressed and worrying about what’s happening back at the office. And what if you are leaving for more, maybe a month? How to come back and be sure you will be able to put together all the pieces of the puzzle, how to save yourself from seeing all those nightmares where your clients leave you with angry complaints or even worse, where you get fired. If you’re one of those who care about the things mentioned above, take a comfortable seat, a snack and check the list of possible steps to take.

The Introduction:

Before delving into this article, I surveyed my friends and acquaintances to see if they experience stress when leaving for a vacation. Most respondents answered “yes,” while others mentioned they don’t concern themselves with what happens during their absence. And that’s where I’d like to start.
Usually, people are divided into two groups:

  • those who don’t care
  • those who get stressed

If you belong to the first one, it’s not a good choice, since diving into your vacation or taking a day-off leaving everything behind is not always a good practice, especially if people depend on you. Usually, people think that all their troubles will vanish while they are on the vacation, but it only escalates the problem and when you get back you face the double of what was a tiny issue before.
If you belong to the second group, let me share with you my own experience topped off with some useful info from the Internet.

Brief Guide to Avoiding Vacation Stress:

  1. First and foremost, start planning your vacation a week or even two weeks before leaving on it. “Why” you may ask and I will reply “To avoid this crazy rat race”. If normally you have a workload you can manage, here you not only have to manage all your regular things but also plan everything for your teammates and maybe other teams. Also, it will help you not to get in a position where right before the vacation you’ve got a whole stack of tasks to be done at the very last night. So, to cut the long story short, start planning beforehand.
  2. Complete all unfinished tasks. This will save not only your nerves but also those of your co-workers and clients who won’t have to spend excessive time catching up.
  3. Inform everyone. This includes notifying your clients about your absence and who to contact in an emergency, as well as briefing your co-workers on the tasks/projects they’ll be covering for you. You never want to be interrupted on your vacation.
  4. Prepare detailed instructions for everyone involved. This step is a follow-up to the previous one. Consider it this way: while you’re away, your substitute should find everything so clear that they won’t even think of interrupting your vacation.
  5. Set up an auto-responder. This not only serves as a reminder that you’re on vacation but also assists newcomers trying to reach out.
  6. Last but not least, try to get rid of all the distractions while on vacation. You see, the main point of taking a vacation is to refresh your both body and mind, but having your messenger popped off with notification from your workplace will not help you do that.
    If you did all the previous steps right you shouldn’t be worried since people will hold your back out there and the overall process of getting back on track will go smoothly.

Additionally, it’s always beneficial to leave some useful notes for yourself to quickly catch up upon returning from vacation.

These are the list of things I usually do to plan my vacation and have no stress leaving my team for any period of time.
Feel free to comment and share your preparations.