YOUR PRE-VACATION CHECKLIST: WHAT TO DO BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE OFFICE

Maybe it’s because the summer is whizzing by (it’s already month seven out of 12, for crying out loud!) or because it’s the ultimate American holiday, but we’re reeeeally excited for the 4th of July this year. But because adult responsibilities, we’ve learned that in order to play hard, you have to work hard. That’s easier said than done on the eve of a holiday though, when all you can think about are concerts, cocktails, barbecues and bathing suits.

Click through for a six-point checklist that covers it all to make sure you decamp from the office with no stones unturned. 

1) TOUCH BASE WITH YOUR BOSS

Swing by for a quick chat to recalibrate the day’s priorities. Make sure that the deadlines that were set on Monday’s staff meeting are still priority or if she would like you to focus on another short-term project before the long weekend. The advantages to this are two-fold: First, you’re being proactive, which virtually always works in your favor. Also, you’ll avoid a barrage of last-minute tasks and assignments at 3:00 p.m., when you’re shopping for swimsuits and sandals (options here and here!) by a now stressed-out supervisor.

2) JUST SAY NO … TO MEDIOCRITY

There’s a temptation to half-ass work just to cross it off your to-do list and hurry home to finish packing for the beach. But here’s the thing: The poor work you do now will be the poor work you have to fix later. If you’re so preoccupied with what the weekend has in store for you and the project you’re working on isn’t urgent, lay off until next week (see the last question in this post!), but if you’re on deadline, here some advice: Put your best foot forward and do it right the first time — you’ll be glad you did.

3) SET YOUR OUT-OF-OFFICE REPLY

But not that useless, generic template you’ve copied-and-pasted from Google. Instead, include when you’ll be back in the office, the type of email access you’ll have (none, limited, etc.), whom to direct questions or concerns (could be a manager or colleague) and what senders should expect upon your return: Will you reply to only urgent emails due to large volume or respond in the order they were received, for example? The more details you include in your (concise!) OOO, the better because it eliminates any unrealistic expectation that you’ll be available during the weekend when you’re actually not.

4) RESIST THE URGE TO BRING HOME DEAD WEIGHT

Be real with yourself. Are you honestly planning to work on that presentation that’s not due for another two weeks? Or are you only bringing your company laptop home to give the illusion that you’re such a hard worker, when the only overtime you’ll be clocking will be at the open bar. Progressive companies and managers promote a sensible work-life balance so if you’ve managed your day effectively, don’t guilt yourself into towing a ton of files home just to collect dust in your back seat until Monday.

5) FIGURE OUT WHERE YOU WENT WRONG THIS TIME

If you’re working late tonight or planning to work during the weekend due to poor time management, ask yourself: What can I do different in the future to possibly avoid the self-induced stress? Maybe it’s using your resources like Outlook or old-fashioned Post-It notes to organize assignments. Or it could be drifting away from the watercooler, no matter how irresistible the office gossip is this week. No matter your time-sucks, use this opportunity to identify and adjust accordingly so you’ll be as efficient as possible moving forward.

6) REALIZE IT’S A HOLIDAY WEEKEND!

Give yourself a break! This is the last major holiday before Labor Day, so don’t spend the 4th obsessing over charts and reports. Remember the work will be waiting for you next week, anyway.


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