Happy Friday!

Screen Shot 2017-11-10 at 3.51.35 PMWhat a week.

And, you made it!

Treat yourself to something fabulous this weekend and give yourself some much deserved rest!

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Enjoy Your Vacation (Really Enjoy It!)

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The first day of vacation is here! You’ve already prepared your colleagues and boss with how to fulfill your role while you’re gone, but have you taken the time to prepare yourself for days of fun, relaxation, and adventure?

You’ve developed a routine of staying on top of tasks in the office, but we want you to hone your skills related to personal time.

This guide, in short, will show you how to decompress without all the stress of worrying about work while on vacation.

Timing is everything

Peak season is commonplace in most organizations, so you’ll want to make certain your vacation coincides with the offseason, if possible, to maximize your efforts to unwind. By selecting vacation time outside of when you’ll be in high demand, you are better able to make plans around known information rather than a hazarded guess.

If you’re unsure when the busiest times of the year occur, speak with your boss or forecasting department, whose job includes maintaining appropriate staffing at all times, for guidance. Planning your vacation during a lull will ensure the likelihood that you’ll remain undisturbed with work and fully engrossed in enjoying yourself.

Unplugging from Technology

In today’s world, leaving your cell phone at home induces anxiety of the worst kind. Doh! How will you respond to emails, voicemails, and text messages if you don’t have your trusty device? Easy. You don’t. You’ve become so accustomed to always being “plugged in” that you are no longer in-tune with the most important contact – yourself.

It’s perfectly fine if you elect to bring your cellphone, laptop, or tablet on vacation, but be sure to utilize the “Do Not Disturb” feature when you really do not want to be disturbed. Pinging email notifications can put a real damper on a deep tissue massage. Disabling this feature will allow you to “loosen up” and enjoy the moment while remaining undisturbed.

If completely unplugging makes you uncomfortable, carve out a certain time of the day to devote no more than one hour to checking emails and responding to any urgent requests.

Putting yourself first

These days are devoted to no one else but you, so act like it! In order to be your best self at work, you’ll need to take the time to do all of the things you didn’t have time to do because of daily career demands.

When was the last time you were able to read a book, see the sights, or have meaningful conversations with loved ones? If this question takes you longer than a few seconds to answer, you need to make it a priority to do at least one of these things while on vacation.

You’ll also want to take this “make-time-for-me” mantra with you during your return to work. Pace yourself by using your first day back to catch up on emails and reacquainting yourself with your role. Block some time on your calendar to catch up so your coworkers will know that you’d prefer not to be disturbed while you’re getting back to business.

Now that you’re all rested up and refreshed, you’re able to seize the days ahead at the office!

Prepping For Your Vacation

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It’s Summer! You’ve banked those vacation hours, foregone taking an extended weekend for your birthday, and you’re ready to take some much-needed time off. Relaxation awaits just around the corner.

We’re here to make sure you’re laying out your beach blanket, rather than laying out step-by-step instructions to your colleague, with these tips for a fun furlough.

Cleaning out your inbox

You may never have been able to reduce your inbox to zero, but a good practice is to clear out any messages to the lowest common denominator before bidding adieu.

Go through each email and prioritize with Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Matrix:

  • Important and Urgent – Extremely High Priority
  • Important but not Urgent – High Priority
  • Not Important but Urgent – Low Priority
  • Not Important and not Urgent – Extremely Low Priority

For messages that are Important and Urgent, take time to address those emails prior to your leave. For those that are Important but not Urgent, use the starring/flagging system to ensure that the messages are your first priority upon your return. The Not Important but Urgent emails may be delegated to the person who’ll be covering for you while you’re gone. Not Important and not Urgent emails can be postponed until you’ve made it back to the office.

Oh, and don’t forget to turn on your out of office reply.

Daily tasks

You have job duties that must be done on a daily basis, and you’ll want to ensure that those duties are fulfilled in your absence. Find out if you’re able to pass your everyday responsibilities along to one of your colleagues. If so, carve out some time to meet with your backup to list and thoroughly explain what must be done and when it will need to be completed.

  • Provide your backup with your passwords to any applications that he or she will utilize daily
  • Leave contact information for important connections (e.g., tech support, clients, and vendors)
  • Identify the location of reference materials that will supply the answer to any routine questions that may arise

Since your colleague will be holding down the fort in your absence, you’ll want to make sure that the transition is as easy as possible. Leaving a detailed list of things that must be done and how to do them will eliminate your need to check your phone a trillion times while you’re away.

Organize your workspace

You know the Rockford files are underneath a pile of papers tucked inconspicuously in the paneling of your cubicle, but your colleagues might not. Taking time to tidy up your desk before you leave will guarantee an easy search.

A clean work area allows peace of mind during your trip. Put to rest the pangs of wondering if your coworkers saw all the crumbs in your keyboard or dust bunnies in the corners of your cube with the gift of tidiness. Double bonus – you’ll return to a desk that’s spiffy enough to be on HGTV!

Now that you’ve taken the time to prepare, get your motor running, head out on the highway, and enjoy your vacation!

The Slump

The Slump

You’re over half way there!

To where, you wonder…

You’ve almost made it through the January 2nd — Memorial Day SLUMP.

Have you even noticed that in March (and sometimes April too) you and your team feel a little on edge, and you are just longing for a day (or week) off?

WE HAVE!

And, we call it “the slump”.

You are on the longest stretch of the year where you and your colleagues don’t have a common day off. So even if you’ve taken a day (or two), everything else in the organization kept rolling.

So, what can you do to keep morale up?

Change it up!

Need some ideas:

  • Bring in bagels and coffee one morning
  • Create a count down for SOMETHING (even if it’s a small, common task that all of your Team has), and then celebrate when you hit it!
  • Let everyone go home early one Friday afternoon

It doesn’t have to be fancy. It is the little things that bring everyone’s experiences back together and say “I see you … thanks for ALL you do!”

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

This time of year can be so interesting. Our time is filled with stuffing ourselves full of delicious foods and navigating our way through stores to try to “find the best deals”.

Often times, as we are spending more time with those in our personal lives, those who we work with see a bit of a different picture.

We are trying to get out a little early… and it can be so easy to:

  • Snap at our peer about not being able to get to the project until next week
  • Tell our direct report that we can help them later or that they are “innovative and can figure it out”

Sound a little familiar?

As we are entering into the home stretch of 2016, let’s challenge each other to stay present in each moment.

You totally want (and need) to leave early, and if you are feeling flustered or pressured, take a big- deep breath, and choose to be present in the moment.

Re-center yourself and *think* about what you are going to say before letting the words come out.

Choosing to do this may help you to keep those relationships supported while also communicating what you need to in the moment.

Happy Halloween

I have to admit; whenever I see a pet dressed up for Halloween I get a smile on my face. And, you can admit it… the picture above made you smile, too!

It’s Friday!

It’s the last day of October!

And, it’s Halloween!

Hooray!

Share your favorite kids or pet costumes you see today to spread the cheer.

Happy Halloween!