The Art of Project Management: Expert advice from experienced project managers in Silicon Valley, and around the world
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Returning to work after summer vacation

Hello, this is Laura Lee Rose.  I am a speaker and author.  I am an expert in time and project management.

I help busy professionals and entrepreneurs create effective systems so that they can comfortably delegate to others, be more profitable and have time to enjoy life even if they don’t have time to learn new technology or train their staff.  I have a knack for turning big ideas into on time and profitable projects.

At the end of the day, I give people peace of mind.

Today’s question came from a busy professional interested in freeing some time and space to advance in his career.

What are the first steps you should do after returning from summer vacation? Can you discuss the challenges of returning to work after summer vacation and offer some useful strategies to make the transition back to work easier.

We are often bombarded with an outrageous amount of emails, activities, and questions when we return from an absence; whether it’s a vacation, a business trip or an illness.   The best solution for “planned outages or absences” it so actually plan ahead.  Make sure you have well-trained representatives that can handle your regular activities in your stead.  Make sure you have all your important procedures documented and published.  Make sure you have your significant dealings completed prior to your leaving.  Make sure you have your “second-in-command’ well versed in things that may pop-up while you are away.  Make sure your email-autoresponders, and voice messages are properly announcing your “out-of-office” intentions and your backup contact.

I also recommend not giving anyone by your “backup contact” – your out-of-office contact.   Allow your designated representative to determine if/when there’s a need to contact you (and no one else).  All information should be flowing through this person while you are away.  Don’t sabotage his/her job by allowing people to go around him/her to get to you.

By doing the above, you will have paved you way to an easier entry back into the workplace.

Returning to work after summer vacation

1)      Move all your emails to a “misc” folder and out of your inbox.  The assumption is that everything has already been taken care of by your “second in command”.  Therefore, there is no need to review the past unless it is relevant to the future.  If it is relevant to the future, it will come up again.  If it comes up again, you still have the information in your misc folder – but you don’t have to review it, unless it comes up again.

2)      Focus on things that are relevant for this week.  You want to be as productive as you can be, once you have returned to work.  Therefore, don’t get bogged down with reviewing things that were completely accomplished while you were away.   Many things that occurred will have no impact in the current items,  and you will have plenty of time to review them LATER.  Curiosity is the only reason to review these things now – but it’s not the best way to hit the ground running after summer vacation.

3)      Don’t agree to deliver anything of significance for the next 2 days – use that time to catch up.  I normally add 2 additional days to my vacation return date on my voice mail and email autoresponders.  This setup of the proper expectations that no one will receive anything from me in those two days.  Setting the proper expectation is key to returning to the workplace with ease.

4)      Setup one-on-one meetings (via phone is fine) with each of your staff and managers within the first 2 days of returning to the office.  Once again – only focus on the things that are relevant to the future, although a quick summary of the past is fine in these review meetings.  Before ending each call, highlight any Action Items, Deadlines, and Owners on relevant projects.

5)      Return only the calls on items that are still relevant. Don’t waste time on things that have passed.   You have successfully done your job to assign a “second in command” and your second-in-command has done his/her job.

6)      Update your Individual Development Plans (IDP)  with your new goals. Review your Personal Business Commitments (PBC) to see if they are still accurate and up to date.  Since you have scheduled this “catch-up” time and have not committed to any significant deliveries in the first 2 days of your return, use this time to review your business commitment performance.  This is a great time to make sure your individual development plans and business goals are still on track.

7)      It’s also a good idea to review them before you go on vacation – to allow your subconscious to work on your next role, your next promotion and the steps you need to accomplish to achieve those goals.   This sets up your subconscious to work on these ideas while you are on vacation.  When you return, you revisit your IDP and PBC to update them accordingly.

In my Professional Development Tool online course and in my various coaching packages, we go over the IDP and PBC in more detail.  If you would like to learn more about those services, setup a quick discovery call at https://www.timetrade.com/book/WFSFQ

The key is to have confidence in the team that you left in place to handle things while you were away.  A highly effective professional makes sure things will run smoothly when they are away.

I know your situation is different. Why don’t we schedule an appointment, where I get to know more about your unique situation? And then I will be happy to make recommendations on what your best steps are moving forward.  To schedule an appointment, book it HERE.

With enough notice, it would be my honor to guest-speak at no cost to your group organization.

I have a monthly presentation on “how to say YES to everything but on your own terms”.  To sign up for the complimentary course, go to www.lauraleerose.com/Say-Yes

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About the Author

Laura is a Corporate Exit Strategist for the Blooming Entrepreneur. She is a certified business and personal life coach, specializing in time management skills, project management training and work/life balance strategies. She has been in the software and testing industry for over 20 years. She’s worked with such companies as IBM, Ericsson, Staples, Fidelity Investments and Sogeti in various client advocacy and project management roles. The techniques she uses in her business coaching and client advocacy work saved these companies both time and money, which resulted in on-time, quality product delivery with higher client satisfaction. Laura now uses her client focus, project, quality and people management skills in her personal life coaching career. As a personal life coach, she helps people transform their life by integrating their goals and dreams into their everyday lives. Laura uses creative and practical tools to help her clients realize what really matters to them. She helps others to easily transition into their next chapter whether it’s the next ladder of success within their corporate environment or into the entrepreneurial playground. I am not a fan of choosing to act in spite of fear. Rather, together we will collaborate toward a plan of inspired action. We will develop a plan together that you feel confident and excited about. For us, Taking The Leap will be magical, exhilarating and natural. If you are eager to take that next logical step but are unsure what it is signup for the Corporate Exit Strategy Coaching group. We have books, tapes, training materials, twice-monthly group coaching events, 3-day workshops, and individual coaching sessions to help you on your way toward your freedom and prosperity.
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