Getting back from vacation: how to recover

Image:Getting back from vacation: how to recover

A friend sent me the following message the other day:

I’m drowning from re-entry from a 2 week vacation.

Do I prioritize the work I deferred prior to leaving or do I focus time on processing the 1500+ emails I received while I was away?

Do today’s new inputs (e-mails, texts, and voicemails) take precedence over these two other sources of tasks?

Any guidance would be super!

Where to begin?

This can all be tackled and taken care of -- with the right method. David Allen has a fantastic method for taking this overwhelming amount of stuff and converting it into manageable actions. I say this because I've used this approach for more than 20 years, and it works.

I gave my friend the five steps from David's bestseller, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity:

Collect
everything that has your attention (email is nice because it's all in one place)

Process
everything that has your attention.
Ask "what is this?" and "do I need to do something about it?"
In situations of huge overwhelm, you might need to take everything that doesn't need immediate attention, file it in folders, and make time to process it later -- but this can be dangerous, because new things that seem immediate and urgent can always crowd out processing time.

Organize
all of these items by context and outcome. Ask yourself two questions:
1.        What would "done" look like for this? What will be true when this is finished?
2.        Where can I do this?
The first question helps you write your action on your to-do list: for example, "Q4 report submitted" instead of "report" or "Star Destroyer sold on Craigslist" instead of "Craigslist." This saves you the trouble of figuring out what you meant.
The second question helps you organize your actions by context: where can you do this thing?

Review
- this is where you look at your lists and make choices about what to do and not do. Here are four fantastic criteria for choosing what to do in the moment.

DO
your stuff

Like many of the executive and professionals I coach, it feels like I get more emails than I can handle -- but I can. I even have my own program that I designed for the purpose, but regardless of what tools you use, it's possible with a sound method and the right amount of discipline.

Best,

Eric

@EricMack | @eProductivity
FB: eProductivity
LI: Eric Mack

Image source: someecards.com/jeremy1157618

More from Inside.eProductivity:

4 Steps to Recover from Email Overwhelm: read more
Email is not the problem. How we use it is: read more

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