Preparing for Time Off Work – A Handy Checklist

Ah, time off. It’s that time of the year when the office starts emptying, as folks start to use up the rest of their vacation time. Even this past Friday I noticed the office was much quieter than usual, and I expect this week to be even worse. Many people take the last two weeks, or part of them, off from work.

Given that many others are also off, preparing to take time off for the holidays isn’t like taking a vacation in the middle of the year. There are many less e-mails to worry about, fewer meetings, and often all the people you need to accomplish something are out. Now this isn’t true of every workplace-there are some where coverage is vital over the holidays, or it can be busier than ever for some industries. But where I work, the office might as well just shut down the last week and a half or so.

So given that most people won’t be there, isn’t it easy to prepare for time off over the holidays? Just slap your out of office on your e-mail and you’re good to go, right?

Well, not exactly.

You could do that, but then you may spend your time away from work worrying about your work. Did I forget something? Maybe I should just check my e-mail in case someone needs me. Wait, what was I supposed to do when I got back?

It’s important to take real time off from work to recharge. I know many people who feel like they’re indefensible and can’t possibly go an entire week without checking e-mail. However, for some that’s something they’ve done to themselves. Either they’ve set up systems that can’t function without them (which is not a good sign-what if they win the lottery?), or they think that their personal presence is more important than it really is. Unless you’re the CEO of a company, running your own business, or a high-level executive, you likely can unplug for a week without an issue. Remember, there’s never going to be a good time to be off, but it’s vital to your happiness and productivity to take some real time away.

Time off away from work checklist
Taking the time to prepare for time off can help you relax while you’re away, and come back without missing a beat

Taking the time to prepare for time off can help you relax while you’re away, and come back without missing a beat

Looking for some more great information on taking time off? Check out Time’s advice for business owners looking to unplug, Muse’s four-point time off checklist, and Monster’s advice for time management for your time off.

What do you do before taking time off work? Give some more tips to your fellow readers in the comments!

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7 thoughts on “Preparing for Time Off Work – A Handy Checklist

  1. When I take time off from work I make sure that I give everyone in the office plenty of notice so that I can tie up any lose ends and make sure that there won’t be any “bombs” that get dropped while I’m on leave.

    The last thing that I want to do is come back to work because I didn’t do everything that I should have before I left.

    On top of that I make sure everyone knows that I will not be available while I’m on leave unless it’s an emergency that no one else can handle.

    This cuts down on the phone calls and ensures that I can take off without worrying too much 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good tips! I’ve found with my work at least, that few people will call with an emergency. Of all the times I’ve taken time off and given my number, I think I’ve gotten called once. Usually things can wait until I get back. Being organized and making sure you’ve checked off your “to do” list really helps to make sure you didn’t miss anything!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well I just read your new post on returning from vacation and I had to check out this earlier post on preparing for time off.

        I totally agree that writing down all the ‘to-dos’ that you want to tackle when you return – helps you put them in one place and not think about them while you are away. It usually takes me a full week to write out the ‘open’ projects that can wait for me to come back so I can get the quick and easy tasks done before going on vacation. However, I’m totally guilty of checking emails while on vacation but only do so once a day and then put my phone in a drawer or out of site so it’s not staring at me! I’m working on it.

        Good tips and nice graphic!

        Like

      2. Well I just read your new post on returning from vacation and I had to check out this earlier post on preparing for time off.

        I totally agree that writing down all the ‘to-dos’ that you want to tackle when you return – helps you put them in one place and not think about them while you are away. It usually takes me a full week to write out the ‘open’ projects that can wait for me to come back so I can get the quick and easy tasks done before going on vacation. However, I’m totally guilty of checking emails while on vacation but only do so once a day and then put my phone in a drawer or out of site so it’s not staring at me! I’m working on it.

        Good tips and nice graphic!

        Like

      3. Yes I came into work and my “to-do” list was already set and waiting for me. And there were several things I was thinking about needing to set up meetings for when I got in-turned out I had already done that before the holiday! Score!

        Like

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