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We all know how important it is to get away sometimes, to take a little time off for ourselves and calm our brains a little.  I just got back from a wee trip feeling refreshed and ready to roll, and then I opened up my email this morning.

Holy Bikini Batman!  Where did all those emails come from?  I suppose it doesn’t help when I forget to put on my autoresponder (*oops*), at least that would eliminate the “… I emailed you X days ago but I haven’t heard from you yet…” type of emails.

In this type of situation it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the numbers.  My suggestion is to take it one small step at a time.  You simply can’t answer everything all at once, even though you’d love to.  So, do a very quick initial scan to ascertain that there are no emergencies that need your immediate attention, and then begin the process of checking all your emails.

What I like to do sometimes is eliminate the easy parts first.  Got 16 emails that contain info that’s getting entered into a database?  Easy!  That quickly drops the number of emails left to tackle and can get you thinking, “Hey, this might not be so bad after all”.  Bit by bit throughout the day I rotate through my clients taking care of big chunks of their emails, and wouldn’t you know it, I’ve gotten through them all by the end of the work day!  Easy peasy.

Believe me, you will be much worse off if you decide to shunt a bunch of things forward in your calendar simply because you’re getting flustered and feel like you can’t take care of it all.  Of course you can, just do it in stages and remember to take breaks when you need them.

So, don’t get discouraged if you’re presented with a whopping list of emails when you get back from holidays.  Just take a deep breath, work through it piece by piece, and you’ll be done before you know it.  Or better yet, get your VA to take care of it all while you’re away!