We’re 24 hours into the official start of summer. Hopefully that means that you’ve scheduled a vacation, which studies show increases your productivity and gives you a new perspective. With your leave requested, you’re probably counting down the days.
A Before-You-Leave-Work Vacation Checklist:
As you count down, there are a few tasks that you might have forgotten in the excitement of your time away. If you take care of them now, they’re guaranteed to help take your thoughts off of work and help you enjoy your vacation even more.
- Plan your involvement:
Decide ahead of time whether you will check in on email or if you will be completely removed. This may mean having a conversation about your intentions with your partner or travel buddies. Perhaps your partner won’t mind if you work a bit, but then again, they might. The same goes for your traveling buddies. After all, if they’re clicking drinks and you’re typing on your phone, they’re missing out on your company and you’re missing out on the camaraderie.
If you’ll feel better checking in every two or three days, that’s okay. Just take care to designate a short time (maybe 15 or 30 minutes) to reading and responding to email. Once you’ve hit that time limit, call it quits until the next check-in time.
Or, if you won’t be checking in at all, make that clear to your colleagues.
There’s nothing like being in a new country without the currency you need.
- Think about where to get cash:
There’s nothing like being in a new country without the currency you need, whether it’s because you’re stuck in a parking garage that only takes Euros (guilty!) or you’re in a cash-only restaurant and the bill is coming toward you.
Do research on where the cheapest and smartest places to take out cash are. Generally, currency converters at the airport are the safest, but most expensive places to exchange. The exchange rates tend to be higher, but they’re convenient and guaranteed to be there when you get off the plane.
Instead, look for an ATM that will allow you to use a no-fee or reduced-fee credit card or debit card to take out cash at a fair conversion rate. Then, when given the choice to pay in the new country's currency or in your home country's currency, choose your home currency for the best rate.
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- Make a backup:
Back up your data safely. If it’s not sensitive, you could keep it in the cloud. If it is, ask IT for help with encrypting your data and then backing it up. Keeping your data safe is essential and doing it before you go on vacation is as good a time as any.
- Put your work in the cloud:
In case your colleagues need access to a particular document or in case you need to access something from the road, putting your documents in the cloud is a move you might be grateful you made. Think about your future self’s needs and try to anticipate them. Hopefully, your colleagues won’t need to bother you and can access what they need while you’re away.
- Clear off your desktop & empty your downloads folder:
Coming back to a clean computer will help future you get to work right away. Plus, your downloads folder is probably pretty full right now and could use some attention. This is also a small move that you can do quickly and easily for the worthy payoff of checking something off your pre-vacation do-to list.
- Write up an “in-progress” email:
An email that details where you are, what you’re working on, and what to do in X or Y situation (and what constitutes a situation in which you need to be contacted) can free up your headspace and keep your colleagues and your boss on the same page. This also reminds your colleagues and your boss that you’ll be gone so that they remember to expect your absence.
A thank you gift or small treat for your colleagues can go a long way in keeping everyone’s spirits up.
- Bring a treat to the person who will be handling your duties:
Even if your colleagues are fantastic and expect nothing in return for handling things while you’re gone, a small treat or thank you gift can go a long way to keeping everyone’s spirits up. Something like a cupcake or a Starbucks gift card might be a small, cheap, and easy gift, but it shows that you’re appreciative of the coverage and that you’ll have their backs when it’s their turn. (Plus maybe this will start a tradition when you’ll also be counting down to your co-workers’ vacations because you might get a treat!)
- Make an “upon-return” to-do list:
It can be hard to get back into the right headspace when you come back to a full inbox feeling out of sync with the office. You might feel ready to work, but the trouble is where to begin.
That’s why we suggest a to-do list detailing what to concentrate on from your pre-vacation self. Having the foresight to think about what the most important tasks are will help you get to work.
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