“A week before, I am focused on tying up loose ends, and I delegate things I know are coming so when I get back, they’ll be finished. It clears my mind before I leave, so nothing is pressing.”

— Stormy Brigance, DON, RCA-Retirement Companies of America, Memphis, TN

“The more you can do up front, the easier it will be when you get back. I worked for a company that literally made us clean our desk every day. One other key is do a little bit on vacation. Do a quick check of email and make any quick calls so they’re not all waiting when you get back.”

— Paul Pridmore, MBA, NHA, CRCFA, Administrator, The Clinton Presbyterian Community, Clinton, SC

“I clean my office. When I get back, I have nothing stacked up to do and I can get to fresh stuff. I did it once and it worked so well, I continued with it. I make it a directive now: Clean up the office. I don’t want to see a bunch of stuff piled up, so when you get back, you’ll know all the stuff coming is new.”

— Bob McDonald, Executive Director, The Neighborhood in Rio Rancho, Rio Rancho, NM 

“I get a schedule done ahead of time. I anticipate situations that might happen and care conferences with families, or if doctors are coming in, I review the case plan and make sure it’s up to date and consult with members of the interdisciplinary care team to make sure they’re up to date. We really rely on each other. Also, I worked in the ICU so we learned you should really not let stuff go to the next shift or person. It’s kind of common courtesy. That’s the philosophy I still have.”

— Cheryl Haas, DON, Hildegard Health Center, Ferdinand, IN

“I let people know the timeframe I’m going to be gone. I do a newsletter so I tell them I need to get submissions ahead of time. I take a laptop with me so I don’t get behind. I’ll use it a little early in the morning or late at night. When I return, we have a staff meeting and get face-to-face. I try to stay connected with other managers and staff.”

— Rita Lopienski, Director of Life Enrichment, Plymouth Place, LaGrange, IL

“I leave my work cell phone at home. I leave my laptop at work. You’re not really on vacation if you’re doing work. When I get home, the night before I get back on the clock, I go into my email and sort them. I look at the ‘from’ and I know who can be deleted. The next morning, I go through my email and do the prioritized ones first. After the dust settles, I do voice mails, with the same prioritizing system. Then, I can call the boss and I can give the state of the union. Also, if I know I’m going to be on vacation, I put my out-of-office notification on three days before so people who have something for me to do can tell me.”

— Daniel Krieger, MBA, NHA, Corporate Director of Reimbursement, Presbyterian Senior Living, Dillsburg, PA

“I tell everyone don’t send me group emails that I’m not going to need to see for two weeks. Only send me necessary things I need to see. No admissions, discharges or transfers or daily census updates.”

— Christine E. Crouch, Vice President and Senior Administrator, Bethesda Southgate and Charless Village, St. Louis