Regardless if you’re traveling to some exotic land or exploring the sights in the gold old US of A or even indulging in a staycation where you get acquainted with your backyard and local beaches, it goes without saying that everyone looks forward to taking a well deserved vacation.

Even just the anticipation of time off can be a good thing and can keep you “pumped” during some long days and stressful situations at work.

But while you’re busy firming up the reservations and starting your vacation packing you should also be thinking about how you can organize things at work so that you will not return to madness and chaos. (I know that you know what I mean!)

Here are five things to think about right now if you are planning to take a summer vacation:

Get AHEAD of your work. It’s one thing to finish up all of your work before you go away and it’s another thing entirely to get a jumpstart on what will be due immediately upon your return. Remember that the wheels of business will keep churning while you are gone and you don’t want to be overwhelmed upon your return. Doing things “in advance” of their due date is one way to help the situation.

Alert your clients. Clients don’t like surprises so make certain that they know about your vacation dates and when you will be inaccessible. It’s wise to provide clients with the names, numbers and email addresses of people that will be covering your work or subcontractors to whom they can reach out directly. The more advance warning they have the less chance they’ll have to interrupt your vacation and connect with you when you are away.

Plan for your return. As much as possible it’s best to “ease into” work upon your return. Try to limit your client meetings for the first few days so that you can get acclimated and catch up on calls, emails and the work that has developed during your absence. Meet individually with your key contacts so they may debrief you on what occurred when you were away.

Leave with a clear desk. Use the last half-hour before you depart to clear off your desk and get your digital and paper files in order. It’s much easier to come back to a clean workspace than to an office that is messy and unorganized.

Cross-train when necessary. When you are responsible for essential tasks that cannot be put off until your return the best strategy is to cross-train a co-worker or two so that the mission critical work can be accomplished without you being there. Set aside enough time to conduct the training in a stress free atmosphere and without the pressure of knowing you’ll be leaving in the morning.

So go ahead, dream about the sun and sand and spending more time with your family and friends. Dream all you want but FIRST take care of business so that your dream of a vacation doesn’t turn into a nightmare when you return.