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Simple Strategies To Make Taking Time Off Low-Stress

by Amber De La Garza, The Productivity Specialist

Istock 521463772For many people, summer is synonymous with long, hot days, pools, beaches, barbecues, diets, fireworks, camping, ice cream trucks, high prices at the pump, and of course, vacations. In fact, last year Americans spent more than $100 billion on summer vacations according to a survey from Allianz Travel Insurance Vacation Confidence Index. So where are you heading this summer?

Or maybe you don’t have any vacation plans yet because you’re hesitant to take time off. You’ve done so in the past and returned only to be increasingly stressed out by the amount of work that stacked up while away. You, your body, and your sanity yearn for a vacation, but dread the state your business will be in when you return. You think it’s Just. Not. Worth. It.

This fear based on past experiences makes many of us have a negative attitude toward taking vacations. While a vacation should be a permission slip to live carefree, slow down, and really enjoy life, the impending doom of returning to hundreds of new emails and voicemail messages prevents many real estate professionals from being able to forget about the stresses of work during time off. Returning from vacation does not have to be like getting run over by an eighteen-wheeler! Take advantage of these simple strategies that will enable you to enjoy your time off because they will ensure a stress-free return from vacation.

Set Expectations And Abide By Them

Set clear expectations with your staff and clients that you are going on vacation and do not break your own rules. If you tell everyone you will not be able to return emails and phone calls until you are back in town, stick to it! If you return even one call while you’re away or reply to just one email, you are asking for trouble. Refrain from establishing that precedent. If you do it once they will expect you to do it again. Vacation over!   

Change Your Voicemail

Let callers know you are out of the office and provide a date of return in which you’ll be able to connect with them. Include instructions on who can assist them while you are away and how to get a hold of that person. Furthermore, delegate your responsibilities while you are on vacation to reduce the amount of calls you need to return as well as tasks you need to complete once back in the office. Less work to return to means less stress. 

Create A Vacation Folder And Email Rules

Set up a new folder within your email account named *Review Upon Return. Then, create an automatic rule to forward all your incoming emails to that folder during your trip. The temptation to open emails in your inbox when pesky notifications sound can be way too difficult. Eliminate the urge to read work emails while on vacation by using this awesome trick.

Don’t Schedule Meetings The Day Before Your Leave

Palm Trees Istock 000051736076 MediumMeetings and appointments have a funny way of giving rise to new tasks to create, projects to research, and people to reach out to so don’t schedule them for the day before you leave. The last thing you want is to produce a head full of new ideas demanding planning and solutions right before departing. Use this day for catching up only. Close open loops on tasks and projects so you can leave with a clear head. 

Turn On Your Out Of Office Auto-Reply The Day Before You Leave

It is nearly impossible to reply to all the emails that flood your inbox right before you leave. Create an auto-reply the day BEFORE your departure that notifies senders you are on vacation to set the expectation that you will not reply to their email until your return. If you wait until the day you leave to turn the auto-reply on, you could find yourself responding to emails right up until take-off just so you can depart feeling like you tied up loose ends and can now relax.

Do Not Overschedule Yourself The First Day Back

Just like the day before you leave, do not schedule any appointments or meetings for the day you return. It needs to be reserved strictly for catching up on current tasks and projects and responding to their related emails and voicemails. Taking on too much immediately upon your return would negatively affect your productivity and turn into playing catch-up for weeks.

Process Your Emails

Although it may seem like a necessity, do not return from vacation and simply check your emails! Checking means cherry picking which emails to read and respond to and it’s a time-wasting habit. Instead, process emails starting in reverse chronological order (newest to oldest). Determine which action to take upon every single email between Delete, Forward/Delegate, Reply/Respond Then File/Delete, File/Keep, or Schedule/Create Task then make your move. While checking emails increases the feeling of being overwhelmed, processing emails aids you in creating an organized, manageable inbox and helps you efficiently catch up after taking time off.

No matter how much you love real estate, all work and no play is harmful to the soul. Because you put so much time and effort into running your business, you have earned breaks from your daily work demands to go and refresh your soul, mind, and body. Taking regular vacations is key to improving your productivity, fostering renewed focus, and decreasing burnout. Don’t turn down the opportunity to take a vacation for fear of the impending doom upon your return to work. Enjoy your time off, confidently knowing that you’ve fully prepared yourself for a stress-free return from vacation!

Want more productivity tips and time maximizers to improve your productivity? Download my Free Time Maximizers resource at www.TimeMaximizers.com.

About the Contributor

DelagarzacircleAmber De La Garza is The Productivity Specialist! Amber is a sought-after coachtrainerspeakerwriter, and host of the Productivity Straight Talk podcast.

She helps real estate professionals take consistent, massive, focused action in business and equips them with the specific techniques needed to reduce stress, increase profits, make more time for what matters most, and achieve their vision of success.


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