Are you about to head off on holiday? Then it’s time to take some action with your inbox, so you can avoid taking a lot of work with you on your summer break and truly enjoy your holidays!
It is that time of year again to take some time off and relax, so what can you do to avoid falling into the email trap? Here are 7 valuable e-mail tips on how to get ready for your “time out” and 6 good tips on how to quickly get started again on your return to the office. With some proper planning and some preparation, you can enjoy yourself with a clear conscience.
In the weeks coming up to the start of your holiday:
- Agree on who will take over your tasks during the holiday
- Write a clear absence assistant for your email, it should contain:
- The date when you return after the holiday
- Name, email address and telephone number of your deputy
- Describe what the sender can expect from you when you are on holiday:
- “Mail is read occasionally” or “Do not expect a response from me”, or if you’re really brave and want the least possible work after the holiday, write something along the lines of: “Send your email to me again after I’ve returned in the case that this issue is still relevant”.
- If the issue cannot wait until your return, ask the sender to contact you by text message or mobile.
3. Set up the automation in the absence assistant in your email correctly:
- Set start and end dates and activate immediately.
- Let the recipient only receive an absence notification message.
- Make sure it applies to both those internal as well as to those outside of your organization.
4. Look over your inbox, your current affairs, to-do lists and calendar to get a good overview of pressing and pending issues.
5. Critically go through your to-do list. Make a realistic assessment and double check your priorities and timeliness for ongoing cases. Prioritize which tasks are most important and which you must complete before the holiday.
6. Set aside specific time periods in the calendar to do the most important tasks, by creating time blocks with a “meeting myself”. Strictly prioritize these meetings over other meetings in the last week before the start of the holiday.
7. Try to avoid other meetings the last week before the holiday, so you have the opportunity to focus and complete the highest priority tasks and can go on holiday with a good sense of control.
The day before the start of the holiday:
- Look over your calendar and your own to-do list:
- Set a new start date for unfinished tasks until after the holiday.
- Do you use flagging of emails or contacts? Check if they are still relevant, and set a new date if necessary.
2. It’s important to have a clear absence message not only for email but your work mobile number as well. Check that it contains the relevant information: when are you back from vacation? Who can people contact if the case is urgent? Relay the contact details of your backup in the office.
3. Have a clear idea of the issues or people that you will still need to give priority to during the holidays.
4. Book a time in your calendar to “meet myself” for a few hours in the first couple of days after the holiday to give you the opportunity to get an overview and get started with problem solving. Set these meetings with yourself as busy in the calendar, so your colleagues see that you are busy and do not call you in to other meetings.
5. Consider bringing a small notebook on holiday with you, or familiarize yourself with a note-taking tool on your smartphone as those genius work ideas tend to pop-up when you least expect it!
6. Turn off Push mail. You still have access to email, but by doing this you can actually decide when to actually download it.
Once you’re on holiday with olive trees and views, sunshine and seas, you can relax with a clear conscience that your email inbox is under control.
On the first day back in the office:
1. Use the time you have already set aside in the calendar for “meet myself” to get an overview of what has been happening whilst you were on holiday and then get started.
2. Review your inbox, starting with the most recent one and handle important issues and meeting notices from the previous week.
3. Decide what you can do now, what you need to plan and what you can delegate.
- Do a task immediately if it will not take you longer than 10 minutes.
- Straight away delegate those tasks that can be delegated.
- It is important to keep in mind that larger tasks that you cannot do straight away should be planned for a time on your calendar and task list for when you will tackle them.
4. Create a folder called “Clear Holiday Vacation 2021 ″ and move everything that has arrived in your inbox during the holiday to this folder, except for the latest issues that you want to start working on. Take a quick look at the content so that you have a clear overview. Another day, you may want to set aside time to go through this folder more carefully and move / archive emails to other folders if you so need to.
5. Now that you have a relatively clear inbox, you can start working on the most recent issues that you need to address.
6. Check if tasks received during the holiday are still relevant and plan when you will solve them or just simply delete them.
PEPworldwide Norway wishes you and your colleagues a very stress-free Happy Summer!