Going back to work after a vacation can be difficult, especially if you had a great vacation, or if you have a lot of work to catch up on. Sometimes going back to work after a vacation can make you feel like you need another vacation. (I think we have all experienced this in our careers.) But it should be a smooth and painless transition.
Here are things you can do to help you come back to work feeling refreshed and renewed.
- Don’t Go Straight Back to Work. Give yourself a day or two between vacation and work. It is always hard to go from a vacation mindset to a work mindset, so coming back a day or two early will help you slowly readjust to work mode.
- Take Things Slow. The first week back can feel overwhelming, so make sure that you take time during this week to get back into the swing of things. You don’t have to work 12-hour days to make up for the time missed on vacation.
- Ask for an Update. Before you return to work, ask your manager or a colleague to send you an email recapping what you missed. That list of priorities will help you with your effectiveness and focus and will help ease your stress when returning.
- Get Organized. Clean up your workspace and start the week off fresh. This could include removing any files, mail or clutter from your desk. Update any “away” messages on your voicemail and email accounts.
- Tackle Your Email. You likely have to deal with a lot of clutter in your inbox — from spam to messages you were copied on so it may be hard to know where to begin. Do yourself a favor and don’t open or wade through every email, at least not in order. Instead, check your messages by subject or sender now that you have a general idea about priorities for the week. The idea behind this is to get to the items you are more interested in reading about first, so you know what happened while you were gone instead of knowing when the email came in.
- Prioritize. Once you have reviewed your emails, make sure you put any critical tasks on your to-do list to make sure you don’t miss anything.
- Take Time for Yourself. The fact that you went on vacation doesn’t mean you have to put in extra hours as punishment. No matter how urgent the tasks and the pressure of your workload, make sure you leave the office on time. Build in time in your day to relax. Doing this will help the benefits of a vacation stay with you longer.
The secret to a smooth transition from vacation back to your work life is a combination of preparation and setting priorities. Remember to take things slow and allow yourself to find the balance between your personal life and work life. If you need more ways to help you stay organized watch “Optimizing Work-Life Balance” and “Prioritization Techniques.”
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