How to Have a Better Vacation
By Anna Sicalides
July 11, 2011
Even though a vacation is supposed to help us recharge somehow the preparations seem to be more stressful than life itself.
If you haven’t made it out of town yet, you have the benefit of our basic tips this month, to help you out of the office and the house unscathed and hoping you can have a more restful vacation as well as a more relaxing re-entry (obviously you want to extend the good feelings as long as possible).
The goal is to do some prep before you leave your home so that your return is somewhat pleasant. If you are like me, re-acclimating is a big challenge, because no vacation is ever quite long enough.
- The week before you go away plan to “eat your refrigerator”, according to Mom Sicalides, it means eating all of your perishables. If you don’t want to do that, share the perishables with a friend, neighbor, housekeeper, pet sitter, anyone who may appreciate them. Coming back to a nasty, smelly refrigerator, not a great way to re-enter.
- Have the same friend, neighbor etc. restock your fridge with a few basics like creamer for your morning coffee, milk for cereal, etc. Do not expect them to resupply you, just a couple of basics will make a huge difference. You can reciprocate when they go away. What a nice treat for both of you.
- Empty all trashcans and recyclables, you don’t want to leave trash in your house while you are away. Your house will feel so much cleaner.
- Do take a few minutes to pick up your house the day before you go, it’s much more pleasant to come home to a picked up house.
- Leave your dishwasher and washer doors ajar, as the seals on new appliances are so tight that your appliances may begin to smell if they have been closed for a period of time. I try to run and unload the dishwasher before I go away, that way dirty dishes do not sit in it while I am off enjoying myself. You can also use paper and plastic the day before so that this is an accomplishable task.
- Also make sure that the water valve to your washer is turned off before you leave (they break and leak ONLY when you are away). This is definitely not a situation you want to come home to after a nice vacation, late at night, when you have to be at a meeting in New York City the next morning.
- When my family comes back from vacation, luggage is opened so that the dirty laundry goes right to the laundry room. None of that dirty stuff goes to the bedrooms.
For work, vacation planning should start two weeks before your departure. That planning should take the form of notes, having times set up to meet with anyone that you need to before you leave, Try to leave the final day to tie up loose ends.
- Leave work at work by taking care of as many projects before you leave as possible. Clear your desk…literally. Return phone calls and emails. Make appointments. Get everything done that needs doing and RELAX! This is your time now.
- Leave written instructions for anything that may happen so your team will know what to do in your absence, and how to reach you in a true emergency, then you can really relax!
- Draw a clear boundary of what is a true emergency for staff and co-workers.
- Pull the Plug: Your FaceBook friends and Twitter followers will live without you while you are on vacation. Tune into what is going on around you and be in the moment as you experience all the things you planned. Everyone needs a break. If you can’t disconnect completely, then just use your SmartPhone or Laptop for 15 minutes at a time or limit yourself to a battery only vacation and only use the device as long as the battery lasts on your vacation.
- Upon your return: Clear your desk again . This time, go through all emails, phone calls, and messages and delete anything that no longer requires your attention. Make a list of everything you have to do and prioritize it with completion dates.
- If you can schedule your first day to be a quiet day, where you can review what went on during the week and have time to meet with your staff, that will be help you catch up faster.
Rest, relax, re-energize. Bon voyage!