Back from Vacation? How to Handle the Backlog of Work

Scott CostelloAll, Blog 10 Comments

Did anyone miss me  or did anyone really notice I wasn’t around?  I actually just got back from a 10 day Mexican Riviera cruise.  My wife and I really enjoy cruising and had a wonderful time eating, sleeping in, going to shows and pretty much just doing what ever we wanted.  If anyone is interested we went on Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas.

I chose not to publicize that I wasn’t going to be home for 12 days because I just didn’t feel comfortable letting the world know my house would be vacant for that long.  I’m sure it is worry for nothing, but you never know who is reading your blog.  In any event I’m back and have some good ideas for some future posts.

I’ll write another post later this week about my trip and include some pictures that I took.  Hopefully there are some good photos, as I haven’t gone through them yet.

The worst part about vacation is right now as I sit at my JOB and realize all the things I have to catch up on and finding out what went wrong while I was gone.  Going through 10 days of work emails is a gut wrenching endeavor, the only hope is that nothing critical went wrong and your boss is happy.

This brings up a great question that pops up in my mind when I return from a vacation or holiday.  There is always so much Real Estate Investing material that gets back logged in my RSS reader, inbox and voice mail as well as mailers to send out, people to reconnect with and on and on and on.  The longer I am away the more this stuff piles up…

How do you handle this process?

I came up with a few methods and I’ll tell you which I prefer at the end.

My current backlog

  • 220 emails
  • 313 blog posts
  • 10 voice mails
  • 2 Mailings that need to be sent out
  • 3 people I need to talk with
  • 514 articles of clothing that need to be washed

Start From the Beginning

This method is daunting! We know this going in, but this type of person doesn’t want to miss one single email or phone call.  Basically this method consists of

  • Reading all your emails from the the first day you went on vacation to the last
  • Catching up on all posts from the blogs you follow starting from the beginning because if you read them out of order you’ll be lost
  • Return all voice mail messages just in case
  • Sending out the mailers instantly
  • Doing one load of laundry after another until it’s all done.

Only the Important Stuff

You are a realist and just want to make sure you catch everything that is important.  Sure you may miss a few things here and there but your confident it will not affect you much.

  • Browse the subjects and senders of emails and pick and chose which to look at and respond to.
  • Very quickly scroll down your RSS reader list and just mark articles that seem interesting to read later when you have your life back under control
  • Call back only the people you perceive to be the most important
  • Send out your mailers in a few days
  • Wash only the clothes that you’ll need this week and save he rest for when you have more time.

Delete them all!

The title says it all.  Just act like any accumulation of emails, blog posts, voice mails and what ever else never happened.  Heck, I was on vacation to relax, not to come back to the chaos of catching up.  Everyone will understand that you were on vacation and forgive you for not returning calls, emails or texts.  You’ll be able to ease your way back into the flow and soon you’ll be back up to speed on everything.

  • Delete Emails
  • Delete RSS Unread Posts
  • Delete Voice Mails
  • Ignore Texts
  • Send out mailers on your normal schedule (like those past 2 weeks didn’t happen and April 14th was the day after April 2nd)
  • Call the people you need to call during the times you normally call them.  Don’t try and do it all as soon as you get back.
  • Wash only the clothes you’ll need for the next day and then just integrate the dirty clothes from your trip on normal wash days.

My Style

I’m most like the “Only the Important Stuff” kind of person, although I do lean more towards the “Start from the Beginning” then “Delete them All”.  There is just something inside me that won’t let me delete and reset.  I’m sure most people are like me so I don’t feel alone.

Have you ever noticed that when a plane lands people will frantically begin checking email, calling clients, returning text or what have you as soon as the plane pulls into the terminal?  It annoys the crap out of me.  The first thing I want to do is get off the plane, get my luggage and get home.

Interesting topic I think, where do you put yourself?

Scott Costello
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Comments 10

  1. LOL! Scotty, I certainly missed you 🙂 I too was a little leery about posting that I was headed on vacation, but frankly between the alarm system and some really great neighbors, I figured I'd be good to go!

    As far as backlog…I was only away for 7 days, but I can tell you that I deleted a LOT of stuff because I was able to quickly tell which things were important. Most of it wasn't….

    Welcome back!

  2. I felt so disconnected it was great! did not check 1 single email, log onto the internet or even turn on my cell phone. Good times on vacation!

  3. Pingback: How To: Handle Backlogs And Make Priorities | Real Estate Investing News Watch Blog Aggregator

  4. Scott,

    I know what you're going through. Backlog is the worst. When it comes to email I tend to be a big DELETER in general, so backlog usually gets treated the same way.

    When it comes to blogs, most that I have, I don't bother to check out what I missed…there are the handful though that I do check to see what I missed (since I've been gone.) Those blogs are easy to figure out…they are the ones I comment on the most 🙂

    As far as phone calls go, I definitely try to follow up asap……

    Mexican Rivera cruise…Nice! One of my favorite vacations ever was an Eastern Caribbean cruise (Carnival Cruise lines.) It was just sooo much fun. I'd honestly like to take a cruise every year I think they are so much fun!

    Btw, I don't blame you for not wanted to let everyone on the world wide web know that you wouldn't be home for 12 days. Smart.

  5. lol… Well if you weren't so busy counting the articles of clothing that needed to be washed, you could've gotten out that mailing quicker! Just kidding…

    I used to work for a company where I would get a minimum of 100 emails a day. So, if I was gone for the week, I could look forward to 500+ emails when I returned. Not fun. Takes half the morning to sort through email alone. Good thing I don't work there anymore…

    So, when it comes to email, I like the 'touch it once' method. Scan the subjects, and only open the ones that look like need to be responded to. Then respond or take action on it right then and there. Don't read the email, decide to deal with it later and mark it unread again.. You just waste time doing that. Then just mark the less important email as 'read'. That way you catch all the important stuff, and ease back into the less important stuff.

  6. That's pretty much exactly what I did. I take care of the emails the I deem most important then move on.

  7. do you ever get that false vibrating phone feeling, as if you had a new message, even when you don't have your phone on or on you? happens to me all the time.

  8. if you are a lone operator do what suits you and what you need to do but if you are a part of an organization you should be able to have some one there to follow up for you and take care of those things that must be done

  9. As far as my JOB, it would be next to impossible for another person to correct any errors in my programs or make any needed updates. Figuring out someone elses code in large applications is like trying to decipher someones brain.

    I understand what you are saying, but it certain situations it's not possible to always have 100% backup.

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