Going on a vacation is scary and stressful for many entrepreneurs and leaders. Imagine all the tasks you'll be leaving unattended and the work you will still have to do. Not to mention, you know that when you get back, you'll have hundreds of messages waiting for you. For these reasons, a lot of my friends in leadership positions end up working while on vacation or even avoid vacations all together.
To help address these fears and issues, we here at Weekdone have put together a checklist to follow to have a work free (and stress free) vacation. We're using it ourselves to make sure everyone gets back to work well-rested.
Do the important things, delegate the rest.
As you get closer to your summer vacation, the work you have left can seem overwhelming. This anxiety can be tackled head on with some careful planning. Before you go on vacation, review the plans and goals you need to accomplish. See what are the big things that you need to get done and avoid doing smaller tasks that are either unnecessary or can wait untill you come back.
Follow the 80/20 rule that says "80% of results comes from 20% of work." Make sure you've done 20% of your most important tasks before going on holiday, and you can rest easy. If you can't finish everything important, make sure someone else is responsible for it. There is no task that can't be delegated.
Once you have your main goals set, break it down into smaller parts and individual tasks. Keep a to-do list of the daily and weekly plans you need to do before the vacation. The famous Philosopher and Semiotician Umberto Eco once claimed that, "The list is the origin of culture." Not only do lists help you get a clear picture of what you need to do, they can even help reduce anxiety and stress.
Mute your email and other notifications.
Make sure your phone won't be beeping all the time because of new emails and work-related messages. Set up out-of-office replies, so your co-workers and clients don't think you're ignoring them. Then, resist the urge to check your e-mail and enjoy your time off.
Be prepared for when you get back.
When you come back, you'll be playing catch-up. The first day back at work might feel like a huge punch in the face as your brain tries to get back in work mode. Make sure you don't schedule everything important for the first day, so you have time to go over your emails and ease into work. Leave the office on time and try to do one thing at a time. That increases the chance of actually getting these first tasks scratched off your to-do list.
It helps if your company or team is using some kind of weekly planning or status reporting tool like Weekdone, Asana, Basecamp etc. They will make sure you are on top of your projects and constantly up to date on the current status of your team. This way you get a quick overview of things being done and what is coming ahead.