In my last post, I mentioned I would share with you the feeling I had when I returned from vacation and found several hundred e-mails in my inbox (among other work that needed to be done). Obviously the feeling was pretty bad, but having a plan as to what to do first and how to do it can be helpful;
- Like me, you might find it helpful to get into the right frame of mind before arriving at the office. I’ve been on vacation for 2 weeks and now I must change gears and perhaps my mind set. Some quiet time with deep contemplation helps me regain my focus for work.
- The first thing I do when I get back to work is review my calendar (fixed commitments) and then my tasks (the flexible stuff). I determine what actions must be taken today to be well prepared for things coming up tomorrow. I also commit blocks of time on the calendar to get caught up.
- I do my very best to get through the majority of my emails before I walk into the office. This way I can deal with the more important issues that may have arisen while I was gone.
- I spend uninterrupted time processing email using a simple process. I’ll expand on these techniques in a subsequent post.
- First, get into the habit of opening an email only once. In other words, closing the email with the intention of coming back to it is not an option. Studies have shown that it takes twice as long to decide what to do with the email the second, third or forth time you open it. This habit will ensure that you end the day with zero emails in your inbox.
- Use a simple decision tree to decide to do it now, date activate it, delegate it or my favorite, delete it.
- I triage my snail mail similar to how I deal with e-mails. I separate it into three piles with the first pile going into the trash (which is most of it). The second pile is mail that needs to be shared or forwarded to others and then of course the pile that requires action/reading by me.
I hope these basic steps help you to have a more enjoyable time on vacation knowing that it won’t be such a burden when you return.