The end of the summer is almost here, and for children, it's time to get back to school and back to work. For many professionals, it's also the last chance for a summer getaway. Taking time off to relax and regroup is important, but the hard part comes when the vacation is over and it's time to get back to being productive. If you're like me, the first few days after a vacation are challenging. To me, it always feels like working in a fog. The pile of work that greets me is almost enough to make me wish that I were back on the beach. This switching of gears can be overwhelming.
So, what can we do to make the transition easier? Here are some strategies from Fast Company that really helped me:
Catch up the afternoon before you come back. On the way home from your vacation or the day before you have to return to work, slowly ease yourself back into the work mindset. I like to take the afternoon to go through my emails and get caught up on what I have missed. I don't feel the pressure to reply to emails, unless they are urgent, but I make notes on what needs to be accomplished the next day. It's also a good idea to plan your vacation so that you get back home on Saturday and have Sunday to regroup. With this strategy, you can prepare for what's waiting for you at work, so you don't have to start your Monday filled with dread.
Plan your first day back. The night before, lay out everything you'll need in the morning. You can plan a good breakfast so that you'll have the energy to get through the day. It's also a good idea to schedule a meeting with yourself or set aside some time on your first day back to get caught up. During this time, you can return any emails from the week and get organized. You'll also need to factor in the time it takes to show vacation pictures and get caught up with your co-workers.
Be gentle with yourself. A vacation is a great way to relax, and it can give you a fresh outlook. Don't waste it by pushing yourself too hard during the first few days back. The company didn't go under while you were away, so allow yourself some time to adjust. This is a great time to assess what parts of your day work and what parts need to be streamlined. Use your new outlook to change something you don't like about your job.
If you still feel stressed out and overwhelmed, why not bring some souvenirs to put on your desk or even just bring a bottle of suntan lotion for some calming aromatherapy?
Do you have trouble getting back to work after a vacation? What helps you the most? Please share your thoughts in the comments area below.
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