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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Stay Sane Getting B.A.C.K. From Summer Vacation

My co-worker, Winston, comes back to work tomorrow and I'm so looking forward to that! Winston is from South Africa and has his family (wife, Naomi and daughter, Chenell) onboard the ship, except he came back without his oldest son, Tashwell. Tash graduated from the Academy in June and decided to go back to South Africa for college. So... Winston and his family took Tash back and got him settled. I know it was a tough trip coming back to the ship without Tashwell. We're glad to have them back! They have been missed in our community on the Africa Mercy! Welcome Back, Winston!

Here's a great article for getting back to work for those of you who may have had time off during the last few months.

by Karen Leland, co-founder of Sterling Consulting Group, Inc. www.scgtraining.com

B - Big Picture: Before getting caught up in the raging river of small details, begin by catching up on what has happened while you were away. Is their any recent news regarding your department or company you need to know about? What is the status of that major project you were working on when you left? Although it seems like a short time, a lot can happen in a week or two. One senior manager came back from a ten-day vacation in Hawaii to an email informing him that the company had been bought! Before you leave put one or two staff members in charge of preparing a big picture report to be presented when your return.

A - Actions:
What important requests, that require action, came from your boss, peers, staff or clients while you were gone? Make a list in order of priority and then email or call each person to:

  • Acknowledge that you have received their request
  • Provide a timeline by when it will be handled
  • Inform them whom the item has been delegated to or where the request should be re-directed

Remember, you may not be able to get everything done within the first two days back. By scheduling the actions you need to take over the next week, it will all get done.

C - Communication:
Chances are while you were away, tons of snail mail, email and phone calls piled up. Not all of these incoming communications warrant dropping everything and responding to right away. Try organizing your communications into the following priorities:

  • Handle right away
  • Can wait a few days
  • Handle next week
The first one or two days back respond to the A's. Schedule the B's for your 3rd and 4th day back and put the C's off until the following week.
K - Keep Calm:
You will be more focused and more effective if you can avoid getting stressed and overwhelmed on your first few days back. One practical way to do this is to force yourself to take a morning, lunch, and afternoon break on your first few days back. For those of you thinking ‘heresy’, think again. Studies show that taking a few breaks at work gives the brain a chance to take the equivalent of a cat nap and return to the tasks at hand more focused and refreshed. Ultimately, that short walk, lunch away from your desk or quick trip to Starbucks, may help keep your head clear and get you back into the swing of things with calm and focus.

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