Making the transition from vacation to work may not be an event you look forward to, but it’s going to happen sooner or later.
Here are ten tips to help you smooth your reentry into the daily grind so you can stay relaxed…and get things done.
1.Tidy up your work-space first.
Chances are you’ll be greeted by piles of unopened mail, files, and other office items sitting on your desk. Rather than ignore these items, take a few minutes to process them. Open envelopes, chuck junk mail, file items, and place items in your inbox. The longer you wait, the more likely these items will be sitting around your desk or workstation later in the week.
2. Undo your away messages on your voice mail and email.
Before you get buried in a bunch of work, update your away messages on your voice mail and email accounts. This is an easily overlooked task; so it’s a good idea to attend to these items as soon as you can. Now is also a good time to check and write down your voice messages and clear out your mailbox.
3. Briefly review your calendar.
You’ve been away for some time, so you’ll probably need a little reminder as to what is going on with your work. Scan your calendar for the next couple of days to get an idea of upcoming meetings, due dates, projects and other concerns. You’ll be better prepared for the days ahead and won’t be completely caught off guard when it comes to getting ready for that client meeting at 10 AM on Thursday or preparing a report due on Friday at noon.
4. Don’t read your emails in chronological order.
Instead of reading your emails by date, sort them either by subject or by sender. The idea behind this is that you’re more interested in finding out what happened while you were gone, as opposed to when things happened. Using this technique also makes it easier to delete any emails that are no longer relevant, such as old news updates, expired offers or coupons.
5. Make a prioritized list of tasks.
As you review your emails, postal mail, voice messages and the like, you’ll be reminded of all the stuff you were working on before you left for vacation. Instead of working on the first item that crosses your path, make a conscious effort to prioritize your work. What projects were you working on before you left the office? What are the five most important tasks to accomplish your first day back?
6. Do one thing at a time.
You may feel the urge to work on three different things at the same time in order to catch up on work. However, this is not the most efficient approach. You’ll only confuse and stress yourself out! Make a point to focus your mind and to only work on one item or task at a time. You’ve just come back from a nice relaxing vacation; why stress yourself out if you can avoid it?
7. Remove unnecessary distractions.
To make your transition back to work go as smoothly as possible, get serious about cutting out obvious distractions. This way, you can catch up on things as quickly and efficiently as possible, without being bothered every five minutes. Switch off your cell phone, close out of any social media accounts, and close out of computer programs and applications.
8. Make plans to enjoy yourself the first week back.
You’re back at work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself or treat yourself well. Scheduling a lunch date or two with friends can make the week back seem a bit less brutal. Treat yourself to your favorite beverage at the local café during your coffee break, or download a new podcast or book to make your commute a bit more interesting.
9. Leave the office on time.
Do you tend to stay at work late the first few days back from a vacation? Just because you were on vacation doesn’t mean you have to put in more hours at work! Don’t play the hero. Make a point to leave the office on time. Set a timer or reminder, if need be, to help you get out the door.
10. Cut yourself a break.
Returning back to work after a vacation is a transition period. Don’t beat yourself up over how long it’s taking you to catch up on things! It may take several days for you to finally get readjusted…and that’s perfectly fine. Stay calm, focused and relaxed. You’ll be back to your old routine at work before you know it.