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Tips to Stay Focused as Your Vacation Draws Near

Your vacation is just a couple weeks away and it’s all you can think about. What attire will you bring? What’s on your itinerary? How can you maximize your sightseeing?

And then the reality rears its ugly head: All you want to think about is that fabulous vacation, but your work to-do list is still miles long.


A vacation should be a relaxing reprieve from your chaotic work life. However, if you don’t adequately prepare for it, you could return feeling even more stressed than you did when you left. Here are some ways to stay focused and get your ducks in a row before you take off.

Tips to Stay Focused as Your Vacation Draws Near

Be Strategic with Your Schedule
The stress of getting your work done before a vacation and the stress of catching up when you return is one of the reasons some people avoid vacations altogether, which is no way to live. Try not to book anything important the day before your vacation or the first day back, so you can ease out and ease back in.

Try to also leave work a few hours early the day before so you have time to relax and turn your full attention to vacation-related activity.

Create a Customized Auto-reply Email Message and Outgoing Voicemail 
This might seem common, but it’s a step we often forget to do on that hectic last day. Once your colleagues and customers see this, it conditions them to get used to the fact you’re gone and hopefully withhold their communication until you get back. Be sure to include how long you’ll be gone and who to contact in your absence.

On the flip side, set a calendar reminder for your first day back to be sure and take everything off auto reply once you’ve returned.

Contact High-Priority Clients or Customers a Week or Two before You Leave
Let them know you’ll be out, and ask if there’s anything they need before you leave. This is also a great excuse to reach out and show you’re thinking of them.

To Do List Meme

Start Prioritizing Your Workload Early, and Be OK with Not Getting Everything Done
Set clear goals for what you want to finish before you leave, and what’s okay to resume after you return. There may even be some work you can take along to do during down times (like at airports or during long car rides).

Communicate Your Rules of Engagement
Ask yourself the following questions before you leave: Will I be reachable by email? Will I be checking voicemail messages? Is my spouse/travel companion on board with me checking into the office? What is it okay for my team to handle on their own, and what do I want to be informed about?

Set clear boundaries and directives and communicate them with your team before you leave.

Focusing on your exit strategy will help keep you on track, but you can still let yourself enjoy the anticipation. Just set aside part of your lunch hour or a small part of your day to do vacation-specific things.

How do you stay focused or get organized prior to your vacation? Give us your tips in the comments below.

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