How To Take A Relaxing Vacation

Three things will make any vacation stressful:

1. worrying about your job while you are gone

2. having to handle crises on the phone 3. fearing the inbox when you return Here?s how to solve those problems and enjoy your time off worry-free.

* Block out the vacation days on your calendar. Add an extra day on each end, if you can, for planning and catching up. Let everyone know, well in advance, when you?ll be gone. Give your address and phone number only to those who really need them.

* Find someone reliable and intelligent to help out with the bigger things ?only you? can normally handle. It might be your partner, a colleague, or someone in an entirely different department. The secret is to get someone whose judgment you trust. (Note: Taking a little extra time to find a competent fill-in person will do much more than reduce worry and extra work when you return. It will begin a relationship that will benefit you for many years.)

* The day before you leave, remind everyone once again that you are leaving and release a simple list of duties for those who have agreed to pick up the slack in your absence. In case of emergencies, give them someone (other than you) they can call. Leave a blanket e-mail reminding everyone of your vacation and put in place one of those automatic e-mail responders that will tell people they can?t reach you for a while.  When you get to where you are going, don?t check in with the office. Don?t call. Don?t e-mail.

* When you get back, spend the extra day you?ve blocked out working through your inboxes — but don?t answer the phone and don?t do any meetings. Toward the end of the day, take a walk around and visit all your key people. Ask them how things went. If they have anything urgent that you need to deal with, make appointments to speak with them the following day.