Weekly Links Post 30/10/10

I decided to start to post on weekly basis a  collection of articles which might interest you.  I’ll try to cover a various spectrum of topics and areas but still in and around productivity, technology, sefl management.This is the first post of this type and I hope you will like it.

Holidays,lists and smooth transitions

Recently I came back from my two weeks of holidays so I’m still in the holiday mood. Although it’s been almost two weeks I still feel the holiday buzz simply because I’ve been using lists
Now this may sound totally simplistic but making lists, maintaining them can really help you have great time,not worry about work and have smooth return to work.
Here’s how you could do that.

Before holidays

Most people before they go on holidays want to close out on as many projects and tasks as possible. There is that frantic rush to complete as much as possible so things don’t look as bad when you come back. However in most cases you really can’t finish it all in one day. If you haven’t done something for three weeks you wouldn’t do it simply because you go on holidays. But to the point. Since you can’t and won’t finish it all before holidays you need to pass things to your co workers. If you follow the GTD system or maintain list of your commitments then it’s easy:

  • pass your project list – review the list and check for projects that need to be moving while you’re away. Pass the next actions or any  follow ups that need to happen. This way you can ensure the things move at least a little bit and don’t die or alternatively blow up once you’re back.
  • pass you action list – review the list and check for any tasks that need to be done while you’re away. Perhaps there are some repeating items that only you do, or maybe certain reports need to delivered in that time. By passing those action again you keep things moving and leave a great impression that things get then even when you’re not in the office.
  • pass your waiting for list – review the list for any item that will need a follow up during your absence. When people know you’re off they tend to push thing away knowing things can wait. In the end upon our return we discover that nothing got done as things went where not chased.
    this is what’s going on at work.

On Holidays

At home you can still benefit from list. Hours before the holidays are usually rushed, lot of things to do. It’s easy to miss something like forget the extra pet food, water the plants, turn of the heating or all the electric devices. Packing stuff for two weeks of traveling means there is a lot to take. Clothes, toiletries, documents, money, cameras, charges, batteries, memory cards, mobile phones etc. It’s easy to loose track of what’s in, what’s still needed and what’s not worth taking as you ran out of space.

An easier solution to that is to use checklist. Having one or more will allow to make sure you’ve packed everything, made necessary arrangement for your house, plants and pet.
Some people prefer to sit on the beach, sip drinks and do nothing, some like to see as much as possible and run like crazy from one place to another. Others are somewhere in the middle they like to hang out around the pool for while but also want to experience local culture, food, architecture. For those two type having some sort of list will help to make sure you make the most out of your holidays. Perhaps you could list all the places and attractions you would like to see during your stay.     

Returning to work

Coming back to work is never a very pleasant experience. Although you might enjoy coming back to the day to day routine of tasks and activities the work it self may be less appealing. To make the transition smoother and less haphazard you can refer to your list. And if things have been completed as you would hope than all you have to is get an update on the events that concern you and and update your lists. Once you catch up on things you can get into work mode.
This way you can avoid having this in between time when you are at work but not fully settled, when you are at work and try to focus but can’t do that because of to many things pilling up on the desk and not being sure where to start.

Whether you follow GTD principles or other self management methods having set of list which  clearly describe your commitments and actions is undoubtedly useful at work but it can also positively impact your holidays and way you spend them.