It’s fun to plan a vacation or a business trip that allows you to go somewhere exciting. Though sometimes it can be hard to pack and coordinate details for the trip while you’re still completing work. Use the tips below to ensure that you tie up loose ends and can ease back into your workflow when you return.

1. Look through your inbox

Before I go away, I like to firm up dates, get more details about a project or just get back to people that are waiting on me. It’s easier to send out important emails and finish assignments so I can more readily get back in the swing when I return even if I’m just relaying an update. This way I won’t be too overloaded. I don’t feel like I’m leaving anyone hanging and I can ease back into work more smoothly.

2. Write a to do list before leaving

I like to jot down what I need to do the week that I am back as well. For example, I’m currently writing a personal finance book. I need to contact editors when I return to make sure I have my draft complete by the deadline. I have it on my to do list app and even printed a hard copy. The physical copy is waiting for me, right on top of my desk. I’ll need the added reminder after my trip to get back on track more readily.

No matter what you’re working on, highlight the next important steps before you leave. This way you have less of a chance of forgetting and you won’t be thinking about it when you’re away. It can allow you to fully relax and enjoy your vacation or focus on your trip.

3. Don’t box yourself in

If you’re trying to schedule work-related appointments, meetings, calls, etc. for when you get back, make sure you leave yourself ample time. Unless absolutely necessary, leave yourself a day or two just to catch up and get your bearings. Ease back into work, check emails and meet your current deadlines but don’t overload your schedule. Push things up a bit if you can.

4. Clean your space

Who wants to come back to a messy desk? Not me. Try to clean up as much as you can before leaving. It will be easier to get back to work which can already be hard enough after returning from a relaxing trip or business travel.

5. Let people know you’re leaving

While an email autoresponder can do the trick, let people you work with know that you’re away prior to leaving. It’s polite and can potentially cut down on the number of emails you have to handle when you get back. Also, if your trip falls in the middle of a project or plan, let others know as far in advance as possible. If for example you’re using a proposed timeline, you want the others involved to be aware so they can adjust accordingly especially if they are waiting on you to finish something to move the project along.

The Bottom Line

It’s great to feel organized when you leave for a trip. It can help put your mind at ease when you’re away and you can set yourself up to transition back to work more smoothly when you return.  Though it might not always be possible, inform as many people as you can but then accept that you did your best before leaving.



Karen is a Nationally Syndicated Personal Finance Writer who sharpens her skills at US News Money. You can also find her placing clients on podcasts and reading about home office organization, productivity and habits.

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