Berger Leadership Blog

How to set yourself up for success when returning from vacation

Dan fishing with daughterSummer is a weird mix of busy and slow times. Many people take time off for vacations, leaving those in the office to fill in while they're gone. And when you come back, there's the full inbox to sort through and projects to catch up on.

But returning from time off doesn't have to be stressful. Aaron Levy, a leadership expert and member of the Forbes Coaches Council, has three steps to help leaders be more strategic. These are good tips to get you in the right mindset when you return from a vacation, and keep you on track throughout the year.

  1. Reflect on the past week. Take stock of recent accomplishments and setbacks. If you're returning from time off, what were you able to get off your plate before you left and what is waiting for you? It's also important to consider where your goals currently stand and how you can continue working toward them. Be sure to communicate expectations to your team so they are aware of potential gaps and keep you informed of progress.

  2. Plan the week ahead. Being caught off-guard for a meeting or project deadline adds unnecessary stress. Take a look at your calendar – either before leaving for the weekend or right when you start the week – and determine what you need to prepare for. Even if you have an assistant who keeps you on track, it's important to be aware of what's coming. Writing a to-do list will jog your memory and help you prioritize and prepare.

  3. Say no, delegate or delay. Hopefully you did this as you prepared to leave for vacation – even as the leader, your office needs to run smoothly even when you're not there. When you are in the office, Levy suggests reflecting on what is a priority, whether the task needs your attention or can be delegated to someone else, what can wait a little longer, and what you can say "no" to. Creating a solution-oriented work environment will keep your schedule manageable, as employees are willing – and able – to address problems without your input.

We all need to take time away from the office to relax and rejuvenate. These three steps can help you truly enjoy time off and feel comfortable despite being disconnected, because they help you set yourself – and by extension your team – up for success. And by way of strategically managing your work life before leaving the office, you'll be better equipped to tackle what's on your plate when you get back.

Being a leader requires dedication in all that you do – quality time off is just as important as showing up ready to take on the day. How you stay motivated in your career and at home determine the quality of life you lead.

Follow me on Twitter (@BDanBerger).

About the Author

B. Dan Berger, President and CEO, NAFCU

Dan BergerB. Dan Berger first joined NAFCU in 2006 and helped turn the association into the premiere advocate for the credit union industry. Since becoming president and CEO in 2013, Berger, who is also an author, economist, and one of Washington's top lobbyists, is credited with bringing national attention to key policy issues, while ensuring NAFCU's members meet policymakers at the highest levels of government.

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