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Smoothing out the post-vacation landing

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You know how it is after a vacation: You return feeling recharged, only to find backlogged e-mail, voice mail or snail mail waiting for you.

And—poof!—there goes the good feeling.

Marci Alboher, in a story for The New York Times, shares her four tips to keep from feeling overwhelmed when returning from vacation:

1. Screen your calendar and to-do list before you arrive back at work. (If these exist online and are only accessible at work, arrive early.) Review the upcoming week, so you don’t have any surprises. If you scribbled anything down on scrap paper while you were away, transfer it to your calendar and to-do list now. That way, you can hit the ground running.

2. Separate snail mail into piles: Create a priority pile for anything with a deadline (e.g., bills, meetings that need to go on the calendar, events that require registration). Set aside a “later” pile for nonessential reading. Make liberal use of a shredding pile and a recycling pile.

3. Allot a certain amount of time to tackle e-mail. If you have a high volume of mail, spread the task over several days.

First, scan for messages from bosses, clients and other high-priority people. Check to see whether any of those must be handled immediately, and do them first.

Next, take all messages that you want to read (such as online newsletters) and either print them out for later reading and delete, or file them in an e-mail folder so you can process them as a group.

4. Keep the vacation feeling alive. Before the end of your first day, says Alboher, “remember something you said on vacation that you were going to try to incorporate into your life at home. Write it down, and post it someplace you will look at every day. Or take a photo from your trip and turn it into your screen saver.”

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