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Avoiding the Pre-Vacation Scramble

Approaching vacations can sometimes bring on more stress and overwhelm than excitement to enjoy your time off from work.  This pre-holiday scramble can often be attributed to a combination of having an overcommitted workload and neglecting to plan in advance for coverages.  A big help in mitigating the pre-vacation frenzy is to treat your vacation like a project and apply the proper organization tactics you would to launch a successful project.  This pre-vacation timeline can help you ensure your vacation is actually relaxing.

Two-three weeks before your vacation:

Communicate With Your Team

Notify everyone that you will be unavailable over the period of your vacation well in advance.  Encourage your colleagues to book meetings with you now, or wait until you’re back to make arrangements, while resisting the temptation to overbook yourself.  There’s nothing relaxing about returning from vacation to a calendar that’s booked with back-to-back meetings for days on end.

Arrange Coverage

Prepare a teammate to handle your major responsibilities while you’re away.  If your colleagues are swamped as well, consider arranging for temporary staffing support to ensure that the essential pieces can be completed while you’re away.


This may be ambitious for some, but packing is often one of the most stressful parts of travel, and if you start setting things out early, you free up plenty of mental space to not stress about what’s in your suitcase.

The week before your vacation:

Out-of-Office Notifications

You can usually set up your out-of-office auto replies a week in advance and set your dates to turn on and off automatically.  This way, you won’t be trying to access your email notification settings from your mobile phone on the tarmac while receiving stern looks from the flight attendants.

Stop Accepting New Meeting Requests

Tell people that you’ll be available when you return from vacation.  Upon your return, you will be able to survey your workload, priorities, and meeting requests with a greater perspective of urgency, importance, and timeliness to ensure the best use of your time upon return from vacation.

Two days before:

Clear Up Loose Ends

With sufficient planning leading up to your vacation, you will have managed to keep most of this day clear of meetings so you can tie up loose ends.  You may still need to stay late at the office, but since you’re ahead on personal vacation planning, that’s less of an issue.  Don’t overestimate how much you’re going to be able to accomplish tomorrow – if you can, finish outstanding tasks today.

One day before:

Power Down

On your last day at work, wrap up any last minute important items and ensure your colleagues are prepared to take over any urgent matters in your absence.  And then, power down!  Log out of online accounts, close open applications, and power down your laptop.  While it can be tempting to bring your devices on vacation to field some emails and reduce the burden on your return, remember that vacations are about rest.  If you’re not coming back to work well-rested, what was the purpose of taking a vacation at all?

Have a great vacation!

If you need assistance in arranging coverage for vacations, contact us to speak with TPD’s Staffing Team today.


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