We’ve already gone over the WHY you need to take a vacation this summer - to recharge, to boost your creativity, to earn more money (sound familiar?). Now, let’s touch on HOW you can set yourself up to take those days away from the office without skipping a beat.
1) Ask, don’t tell, and do it in writing
According to a recent internal survey of Huffington Post editors, asking your boss to use your vacation days, instead of telling, lets her know that while you’re taking some time away for yourself, you’re still invested in the continued success of the company and value her opinion. Make sure you also provide your boss with the request in writing to ensure that both you and she are on the same page about the dates and duration of your absence.
2) Make a thorough out-of-office plan
When you approach your boss with your vacation request, make sure you have prepared answers for the questions she might ask including:
- Where are you on X project?
- Who is going to be the point-person on Y project while you’re gone?
- Who will be your backup for important work that comes in for you while you’re out?
Having answers to these questions ensures that your boss knows that you’ve progressively thought about your responsibilities and won't be placing an undue burden on any of your co-workers in your absence.
3) Do what you can before you go
It never hurts to be more prepared than you have to be, so knock out some of those projects that you’ve been working on before you set your out-of-office. Putting in a few extra hours before your vacation helps you lessen your stress levels while you’re away and your work burden when you get back. No one’s saying that you need to get to Inbox Zero, but put the finishing touches on any projects or assignments that have a due date that falls during your vacation. That way, you have less to tackle immediately post-vacation and you can ease your way back into office life.
4) Resist the urge to check your email
While it’s tempting to just “take a quick peek” while you're out of the office, resist the urge. Opening up your inbox will only take you prematurely out of your vacation state-of-mind and rev up your stress levels. You concocted a thorough out-of-office plan and you notified your customers that you’d be out, so try not to worry about the state of your inbox too much. It’ll still be there when you get back.