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Achieving control of stuff while on vacation

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  • Achieving control of stuff while on vacation

    Does any experienced GTDer have a plan for processing or at least achieving some control of "stuff" while they are out of the office for an extended time like a vacation?

    By stuff I mean the emails, company hardcopy memos, voice mail,etc.

  • #2
    This is sort of a tricky ambiguous question. There's a lot of different questions it could be.

    The question I'm most personally interested in is "How do you control your Inboxes while you're away from them?" but I'm not sure that's really the question here.

    So. A bit more disambiguation, please.



    • #3
      By shutting them down. Everyone receives notice that I am not available for such and such time and that I won't receive emails or voicemails over that period. If it's important than please refer to such and such [trusted person I am in agreement with to deal with this kind of things and the only person who can reach me on vacation]. It's as simple as that. I will _not_ come back from vacation, filled with energy and freshness, only to have that wasted over a pile of 200 emails.


      • #4
        Don't worry about it while you're away - Control comes when you're back

        The way I approach it is to not worry about it whilst I'm away - as I will have told people I am away (out of office replies), but then I also have a colleague keeping half an eye on my inbox for anything time critical.

        The night before I come back in, I'll load up my email and clear out the chaff - leaving things I need to actually think about for my first day back.

        The first day back is essentially a wipeout as I catch up on everything - with colleagues, inboxes, updates etc. As this is planned before I leave, I don't worry about it until that day rolls around !


        • #5
          If you can, take a real break and relax, and delegate before you leave. Also give a reply message for emails that notifies who else to contact in your absence.
          Block out your calendar for the whole day or at least several hours when you first come back so you'll have allowed some time to deal with the backlog.

          If your vacation includes flying, you can do a bit of processing on the flight (need to be able to download emails prior and work offline). Squeezing a little bit of collecting and processing into times that like this that wouldn't have been much fun anyway is a good way to work on things without really spoiling your vacation.


          • #6
            Achieving control of stuff while on vacation


            Sorry for the lack of clarity in the question.

            I was trying to convey that I want to improve the ability to be productive and that extends to how things are processed while I am on vacation-not me processing things (I want to enjoy the vacation) but to set up some kind of a system that can work for me while I am gone to process the stuff.

            I have an admin asst organizing my "office" mail into "context" folders while I'm gone in order to hopefully cut down on the organizing and processing time needed when I return.

            I was also looking at how to better use email to process, and although I can't stop the inbox from filling, I did post a message to email senders that I was out of the office and listed the date of return.

            My goal in posting was to try to sharpen my proficiency at GTD, or continuous improvement as some industries refer to it.

            Any input you might have now that I hopefully clarified my message, would be appreciated.


            • #7
              Sorry I let this one slip for so long; I was, fittingly enough, on vacation. Now I'm back and going through pretty much exactly this, so I have a few things to say.

              I guess my main advice is to wade through everything in newest-to-oldest order, which might be counter-intuitive. The disadvantage is that you don't really know what you're getting into for a while. But the upside is that you don't spend much time on stuff which has already been resolved or taken a drastic turn, which is enough of an advantage for me to make it worthwhile.



              • #8
                I am in agreement with to deal with this kind of things and the only person who can reach me on vacation]. It's as simple as that.