Like many of you, I took some time away with family for us all to relax and play together. Today, I want to share a few things you might want to consider doing when you return from a week or more away that I have found help me “hit the ground a-run’n.”
1) Re-establish my morning routine. For me it looks like this: a) Coffee and breakfast (in that order). b) Planning and solitude time which includes daily devotions and prayer. At this time I Listen to God through reading His word, prayer and meditation. I plan my day and look at my week’s schedule with His guidance in mind. c) Exercise (I am not good at this, but I am working on improvements). d) Shower and get in the office.
2) Listen to my phone messages and prioritize them for followup (ASAP; today if possible).
3) Open my email. a) Batch delete anything I know is junk without opening them. b) Scan emails that I think are junk or need no followup. Delete or “archive them immediately. I only want to see these once and complete my action on them. c) Next, review everything I think will require a reply or followup. Reply immediately whenever possible. If it will take less than 5 minutes “do it now.” Mark as “un-Read” those items that need more time to followup, and list them as a task in my daily plan for completion. I try to have all correspondence done with replies, followup or delegation before noon.
4) I then go through my snail mail using this same process. Junk mail never gets opened, questionable stuff gets scanned and tossed, filed, or dealt with quickly. Important mail is prioritized to be taken care of and hopefully completed before noon. Things that need more time gets worked into my day and week for completion. If it will take 5 minutes or less I “do it now.”
4) Review my calendar for the last week I was in the office. I look for unfinished business, delegated tasks to followup on, the last status of ongoing projects, etc. Take any action needed now or schedule it into my day planner. If it will take 5 minutes or less I “do it now.”
5) I am now at a morning break or (worst case scenario) approaching lunch. Review the morning’s work and complete or trash the things I procrastinated on. I try to be brutally honest with myself: if I am not going to do it, I get rid of it (Trash or delegate). If I need to do it, then I choose to get it done and over with. If it will take 5 minutes or less I “do it now.” (Do you see a pattern forming?) When all this is completed, my slate is clean and I have permission for a morning break or time for lunch.
6) I like to have a staff meeting over lunch the first day back. We all get caught up with each other, I share my vacation stories, we review what happened in my absence, I followup on delegated items, and we look ahead to the coming weeks.
Upon my return I am fully caught up and everything is either done, delegated or scheduled in my day and week. Only then can I really get to work.
I hope this helps you. And… “Welcome back!”
Tim Wenzig M.A.