Today was my first day back to work after 10 days of family travel, and boy did it go wrong. Now, I'm a huge believer in vacation. It's important to take time away from your work--mentally and physically. I'm also a huge believer in the value of travel. Seeing new things and meeting new people and understanding different cultures just a little bit more helps me to be a better writer, speaker, and consultant. I usually come back from vacation excited to get going--I truly love my job!--but today was a disaster. Learn from my mistakes.

I scheduled a dentist appointment for my daughter.

She starts school next week and I didn't want her to have to take time off school to get a tooth filled, so I took this appointment time. Boy, was that dumb. Having to stop work to take a kid to the dentist threw my day off kilter by 10:00 am. Don't schedule things on top of your normal work day for your first day back.

I came home to a disaster.

I like to get home from vacation at least a day before I have to be back to work, to have time to start on the laundry, get some groceries, and maybe catch up on some emails. We got home Saturday afternoon--so plenty of time for all that. Good scheduling on my part. 

But, when we walked in the door, we were greeted by a horde of fruit flies, and a nasty smell. Turns out that someone (no one has confessed) forgot to close the fridge while we were gone for 10 days. So, instead of doing what I planned to do, I spent Saturday afternoon cleaning out my refrigerator, defrosting the huge ice block on the back, and trying to rid my home of fruit flies. (Suggestions gratefully accepted!)

That put me behind and grumpy already when Monday rolled around. This could have been easily avoidable if we had just done a once through the house check before walking out the door. Make that a priority.

I put off the end of month tasks until I got back from vacation.

One of the worst parts of being self-employed is the billing. I have to send out invoices. Normally I do that at month end, but our vacation spanned the last 6 days of July. I figured I'd just do them when I got back. So guess what greeted me? The task I hate most. (Don't get me wrong, I like getting paid, I just hate the administrative side of things.)

Tackle your worst tasks before you leave town. It may make getting out the door a bit harder, but it will make your first day back a whole lot easier.

I started my vacation weight loss diet today.

I know better than that. You know better than that. That was just dumb. Pro-tip: If you want to lose those pounds from eating at restaurants repeatedly, wait until work is under control. Give it a couple of days, at least! (Note: I also gave up on my diet later in the day. I will resume it after my email inbox is back to being manageable.)

Every one of these things could have been avoided by proper planning and preparation. Don't let yourself make these same silly mistakes. 

The vacation was still worth it, and tomorrow will be fabulous. I'm sure of it. And that picture? I didn't take it, but that's where we were: Tallin, Estonia, among other places in the region.