Strategies for a Worry-Free Vacation 

by Margo Brown

Vacation is meant to be a time to reset and relax. But for some of us, letting go of the office while away proves difficult. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. With these helpful reminders, you can let go of work and have a worry-free holiday.

1. Plan for a day of re-entry. Before even packing your bags, look ahead in your calendar and block off the first day back to work as a day to catch up. Rather than spending all your time off worrying about how you’ll get it all done, go into vacation with the peace of mind that a day for catch-up has already been planned.

2. Remember the 80/20 rule. Upon your return, your inbox may be packed with hundreds of emails. Keep in mind that only about 20 percent of messages are relevant. Sort your inbox by person or project to quickly see what’s junk and what’s important. Junk, blogs and daily digests can be deleted right away or moved to a folder to save for a later time.

Likewise, with snail mail: Sort junk mail directly into the recycle bin, along with any other unnecessary clutter from your desk.

3. Reconnect and refocus. Once your desk is cleared, take time to look through folders and documents to reconnect with what you were working on before your time off. You can also use this time to scan your calendar to see what’s on schedule for the coming couple of weeks.

4. Do five things. Once your inbox is sorted, your desk is de-cluttered, and you have an idea about what’s ahead, create a list of the top five things that need to be done right away. Focus on that list and, before you know it, you’ll be back on track with the added benefit of being rested from the time away.

5. Schedule your next vacation. Taking balanced time off is just as important for productivity as hard work. Be sure to give yourself another break to look forward to and block out time for your next vacation.

Margo Brown is a productivity coach and professional organizer with Wave Productivity. She works with entrepreneurs, small-business owners and business professionals to help them get more focused, organized, and productive in their workplace. She serves the Tempe and Phoenix area in Arizona. Learn more at

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