Have you ever noticed that when you return from vacation, there’s so much waiting for you that you feel like it wasn’t even worth going on vacation? Or, at least, the relaxation you were feeling from the vacation all goes away the day you return as a result of the pile of work waiting for you?
Dan Sullivan of The Strategic Coach teaches a time-management concept called “Focus, Free and Buffer Days.” The point of this message is on one small aspect of buffer days and using them in a specific way. Buffer days are for cleaning up messes, getting organized, clearing the decks, clearing your to-do list, and delegating.
I was recently discussing with someone how I’m able to take stress-free vacations, leaving totally caught up and returning rejuvenated and able to manage the pile of work waiting for me when I return. The secret is, as I teach my clients, to buffer your vacation. Try scheduling well in advance a full buffer day the day before your vacation and a full buffer day the day after you return from vacation.
The goal on these two days is to schedule absolutely no meetings (internal or external). It’s to clear the decks so that you are completely caught up and current when you leave for your vacation and therefore there’s a manageable pile waiting for you when you return that you can complete with the full buffer day you’ve scheduled the day afterward.
Assuming you have a vacation scheduled in 2013, go into your calendar right now and block out the entire day before your trip and the entire day after it. You’ll double your productivity as a result of keeping your stress level low and your creativity and energy high.
Try it—you’ll love it!