Getting Back Into Work Mode After A Long VacationBy Anulekha Venkatram
Aug. 16 2016, Published 3:30 a.m. ET
If you’re reading this, chances are that you recently went on a long vacation.
You’ve spent countless days or weeks waking up late, laying around on the beach, exploring new places, binge-watching your favorite movies and TV shows, etc.
After many days of fun and relaxation, you come to this sudden realization: it’s almost over. Soon, it’ll be time to get back to work.
Now, it might seem daunting to get back in the grind of work after a long holiday, but here are some things you can do to smoothen your transition from vacation to work:
1. Plan your return
While it’s important to plan for your vacation, it’s also important to plan for your return from vacation. For example, planning to return home earlier will give you a chance to acclimate to your regular schedule and get things ready before the upcoming work week. Instead of coming home Sunday, plan to come home Friday or Saturday. You’ll have an extra day or two to re-stock your fridge, unpack, do laundry, get ready for the work week, and adjust to your normal sleep schedule.
2. Block off time to get caught up
Before you go on vacation, make sure that you have your calendar blocked for the day you return. You want to make sure you have time to sift through email and get caught up on what you missed while you were out. If you didn’t get a chance to do this pre-vacation, that’s okay! Do it as soon as you get into the office, and try to minimize attending any meetings until you get a sense of what state things were in the time you were off.
3. Have a plan of attack
Unread emails, projects that need your feedback, monthly reports, presentations to the executive board. There might be a lot of things waiting for you once you get back, and it might even seem overwhelming to tackle. In order to get things done with minimum distractions, here’s what you can do: have your out of office message on for the morning, set your email chat client to do not disturb mode, and grab a conference room to stay in until you have a good handle on what your priorities are for the day.
4. Leave the office at your normal time
It might seem tempting to stay late the first few days. Don’t. This is a recipe for disaster and will burn you out early in the week instead. Just because you were gone on vacation doesn’t mean that you need to put in more hours once you’re back! On your first few days back, make it a point to leave on time. Set yourself a reminder, or ask a buddy at work to nudge you to leave. Bottom line—take it easy the first few days, and plan to be extremely productive mid-week.
5. Schedule in something fun
Just because you’re not on vacation anymore doesn’t mean that you can’t treat yourself. Schedule a lunch/coffee date with friends, try that new ice cream place, walk outside for a breath of fresh air, re-read your favorite book, etc. Treating yourself will make your week back seem less brutal. Stay calm and relaxed, and before you know it, you’ll be back to your old routine in no time!
6. Say “thank you”
While you were enjoying your time off, someone was probably covering for you. Once you get back, make sure you take the chance to acknowledge and thank them for their help.