We all love it, that feeling of writing on the last day prior to vacation the out-of-office message right before jumping into that plane – that feeling! (L). You jumped into that place, you landed on that nice beach (Fingers crossed the airline did not cancel your flight), you had couple more mojitos than you expected and last day of vacation you are flying back.

How to manage Inbox after vacation

That last day, how hard it is to come back from vacation (what experts call: post-vacation trauma)

When you open your inbox at work and BOM! suddenly you have thousands of emails waiting for you.

If you feel this pain and just like me, you suffer the same post-vacation trauma when you try to catch up with your inbox…

No panic – you have just arrived at the right place.

All the job for effectively catching up on email after your vacation starts …

Can you guess where? – Once again?. It starts right before your vacation.

Prior to vacation

Some tips & tricks – how to effectively manage yourself right after vacation.

Prior to your vacation:

  1. Set up rules for forwarding emails to a specific folder.
  2. Colour code the emails from your managers.
  3. Sort your emails by conversation – so you will be able to read only the latest email.
  4. Set up an out-of-office message.

How to Set up an out-of-office message.

What to write in your out-of-office message:

  • Clearly say your status – Out of office
  • Specify for which reason you are out-of-office – I will be on vacation
  • Show the dates – 21st Jun to 27th Jun (both included)
  • Indicate when you will be back – 28th Jun
  • And finally – show who will be your backup (if any)

PRO TIP: If possible do not show any alternative way to contact you.

Why? To ensure proper rest from LIFE – at some point in time, we all need to rest from LIFE.

If you want to learn more about why it is important to fully disconnect during vacation, click here

What to avoid in your out-of-office message:

  • Unnecessary details – No need to share where you will spend your vacation or with whom
  • Private phone number / Limited access to email – This is your vacation, get some rest!
  • Typos – this is a very short message, ensure there are no typos.

If you need some ideas on how to build out out-of-office messages, I bring you best-in-class examples,

including the one I use myself every time I go on vacation.

Example of Out – of – office message

Example of Out – of – office message.  (This is my favourite one and the one I use myself :D)

Out of office!

I will be on vacation from 21st Jun to 27th Jun (both included).

I will get back to you on 28th Jun

Back up:

Contact hello@misterpaton.com

Mister Paton

Other examples:

Thanks for your email. I’ll be out of the office 10th-15th May (both included) I will be back on 16th May

If you need help while I'm away, please contact hello@misterpaton.com , or Miss Paton for financial questions

Thank you for your email. I am out of the office at this time, and I am not checking my email. I will not return until 2nd Sep.

 If this is an urgent matter, please contact hello@misterpaton.com . Otherwise, I will respond to your email as soon as possible after my return.

If you want to be creative with your out-of-office messages – you can find some inspiration here.

How to catch up with emails after vacation

It is normal to have a full inbox after vacation, don’t let this make you feel overwhelmed.

Tips & tricks

I bring you the best tips & tricks to help you in order to effectively manage your inbox right after vacation.

Schedule 30min meeting with your backup

I like to imagine the work my backup has to do, as the friend who asks you to water the plants during his/her vacation period.

Your backup needs to understand what it is the bare minimum to keep the plants alive – to understand what the key topics were while you were on vacation

Book time on the calendar

Ensure you book quality time (around 2-3h) at the beginning of your first day after vacation.

What should you be focusing on? Focusing on going through your inbox – on the first day after vacation

if you want to learn more about how to effectively manage your calendar – click here

Avoid multitasking

One thing at a time – I repeat it for the ones at the back of the class.

If your brain is trying to complete more than one task at the same, it may affect the way you work even when you’re attempting to complete a single task.

As per a recent study done by the university of Standford,

Researchers found that the brains of people who are multitasking tend to work less efficiently than those who do not multitask. – Link to Study

Sort all the emails by conversation

You will need to open only the last email in the chain. If you don’t know how to do it technically in Outlook – keep reading below.

HOW TO: View / Show as Conversations

Focus on the colour-coded emails

Emails coming from “VIP” people in your organization

Mister Paton’s magic chart

Open each email once – Follow the MisterPaton magic chart

For every email, you open there should be action behind

If you want to discover what the MisterPaton magic chart is about and how it helped me to reduce by 57% the time spent in my inbox – click here

PRO TIP: Don’t try to reply to all emails at once – Apply Pareto rule 80/20.

Try to focus on those emails that are important for you and important for the business.

If you have many emails that are important for another person, and not for you – disregard them

I hope you find these tips & tricks useful, and that you will become more efficient in the way you manage your inbox.

Tell me below how these tips & tricks are helping you on overcoming post-vacation trauma.

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