"Back to life, back to reality..." I think about the lyrics of that song whenever I'm re-entering from vacation or from other extended time out of the office. If you've taken my advice and truly vacated (no email or cell calls either) you might feel a bit buried too right about now. But have no fear - here are some ideas you can use to un-bury yourself and get cruising again:
- Set aside a block of time as early as possible to weed through email and interoffice mail. If you're like many people you'll really only have to deal with 25-50% of the items clogging your inbox. Start your process by deleting or pitching the most obvious junk items immediately and you'll drastically reduce the number of items on the pile.
- Once you've gotten to the real actionable items follow the guidance of the GTD gurus and handle each item once - do it, delegate it, or dump it.
- You've been out for a week (or whatever) already - people are used to you being out of the office, so leave your phone on park to avoid interruptions while you're catching up. Heck, if you really want to, leave your phone parked and see how many days it takes for them to catch up with you and realize that you're back on the job! (Just kidding - well, maybe.)
- Set up a pow-wow with the people who report to you to get updated on what's been happening while you've been away. This is also the perfect opportunity to delegate some of the tasks from bullet #2 above.
This is just a quick first cut - I'd love to hear your best techniques to jump back into the water. What do you do to shrink the pile? And what's working for you to reduce the stress that accompanies the chunk of work that greets you when you return?