I used to “freak out” before and after vacations, exhausting myself on both ends of my time away. Sort of defeats the “refresh, relax, retreat” point of it all though,don’t you think? Now, though, each time I go away for vacation or business, I’ve become more thoughtful and mindful about how I can make all of this more pleasant and part of the trip’s enjoyment … and I’m doing this not just for myself but for everyone around me, too!
I used to walk around in so many circles that my dog, following me, would get as exhausted as I would.
The proof: Exhausted, after watching me try to get organized for vacation.
Things have changed [and he’s grown up a lot, if you’ve seen him on my social media sites!] Here I’ll share some of my personal best practices, along with encouraging you to consider your own.
Vacations – Leaving
1. Let Go
It was an important day when I figured out the 3 items I can’t live without on a trip: picture ID/license, money or a credit card, and travel documents. Make it 4: phone or tablet.
So anything else I forgot to pack? Purchase it while away. This was a huge piece to “letting go” of my need to pack perfectly and not forget anything. I figured out the essentials.
So, yes, I keep packing lists, but when it gets down to the wire, sometimes the list is messy with my cross-offs. Or I don’t use my list because I think I have it in my head. Or it’s a new trip location, new weather, new something.
2. Work or Play Decisions
I make it a point to decide if I need to work at all while away. This includes “simply” checking email/text/voicemails. If I check email even once, my mind goes right back to thinking about my work, my home, my obligations. So I decide before I leave for the trip. This makes it a conscious choice, which registers in my mind. And it pops up when I consider “just checking” my email.
If I do need to work, then we both agree when that might be, so it’s clear. Or because maybe both of us need to get a little work done, especially on a longer time away. Again, we have the discussion and make a conscious decision.
This makes it easier to consciously be “at work” or “at play.” And that means it is easier to close the door on the other. Sort of like at the end of a workday, if you write down what you did and what’s up for the next day. It’s mental closure, decluttering your mind.
Vacations – Returning
1. Photos and unpacking
Photos allow me to relive my vacation and are a “transition” task. So I upload, review and share my photos as a high priority after vacation’s over. Closure, once again. This allows me to mentally move my vacation memories to the back of my head, as I transition into my life again.
Unpacking does something similar. I break up unpacking into the easy and difficult, so I get at least a little bit done right away and feel settled.
The easy is the clothing, which mainly goes into the laundry. The more difficult is the books, tablet, camping gear, – the non clothing – all that little stuff that goes to multiple places in my home. That waits for a weekend but I do put things “one step closer,” to where they belong [sometimes]. It’s a bit of work to get it all packed away, so I don’t rush it. And it’s probably my way holding onto that vacation feeling, too!
2. Cushion time
I call it “Balance Day.” Let’s say I’m working a weekend, say for an ICD Board meeting or a conference I’m attending or speaking at. In my calendar is an appointment which will include one day off from work, upon my return. You’d also see “go grocery shopping” or “go to the Currier museum,” “attend show house,” “reset the house.” But I am not working.
I need ideas written down and visual for how to spend the time. Or working will be my default and I need time to reset my house/life and transition back into working. I love what I do, so I don’t want to burnout, and that’ll happen without a reset break.
Write down your own “best practices” for vacations, whether you stay home or go away. You’ll feel far more refreshed and relaxed while you’re planning, away and returning.
How do you do with transitioning to and from vacations and business trips? If you need some new best practices, email or call and let’s talk it through. Sue@OrganizeNH.com 603.554.1948