We just got back after a glorious summer break. It has become really obvious to us that taking the time off from work was essential, because, well… of course it is. You know this. Unwinding with friends and family is invaluable to your mental, emotional and physical health and can be as critical for maintaining high performance at work too. You may remember us talking about the importance of taking breaks in our last two newsletters.
Whether you’re dreaming of relaxing under a palm tree, the peace of a quiet cabin in the woods, or soaking up the history of an old European city, the weeks leading up to a vacation can be full of excitement. Unfortunately, the nightmares about coming back to work after vacation can be enough to fill your trip with dread.
Most summers we agree with ourselves (and our family) that we would not read emails at any point during our period of vacation. There is no doubt that this doesn’t work for everybody, all the time. However, there is also an important consideration to make, which is that if the business cannot go on operating without you, then you have not planned or staffed correctly.
Don’t you love it when you’re trying to catch up on work, and everyone’s bothering you..? They mean well. Like you, they're trying to get their job done as well. Remember, everyone else is probably feeling exactly the way you are, so it’s okay to take a little bit longer to ease back into things again. The good news is that with a little planning, you can ensure work doesn’t pile up in your mind or on your desk while you’re on vacation. Here are our tips to make going back to work after vacation easier:
Plan a buffer day: Before you start on your work backlog after your vacation, take some time to handle your personal-life backlog. Whether you need time to grab groceries, do laundry, get the kids back on schedule, or just sleep off the jet lag, scheduling a buffer day can be a great end cap to a vacation. It’s much less stressful to come back to work after vacation if all your personal ducks are in a row.
Set reasonable priorities: You aren’t going to make up for five days of work (or however long you were gone) on your first day back. Write a list of priorities and knock them out one by one. That way, when your coworkers realize you’re back and the floodgates open, you can point to your list and set reasonable expectations.
Reserve your first day (or two) back for catching up: Block the days out on your calendar. Hide in your office. Like we mentioned earlier, maybe give yourself a buffer day so people think you’re really out of the office for an extra day or two. Whatever you have to do, don’t schedule meetings and don’t allow coworkers to pull you away from priorities for the first couple of days. You are the master of your own post-vacation ship, and you should give yourself time to catch up before diving back into other tasks.
In conclusion, give your future self a chance to get back to normality by planning some leeway. Remember that your body and mind has just returned from a well deserved break so make sure to take care of yourself and ease into your life. Try out some of the tips we mentioned above and let us know if they help you. We would love for you to share with us some of your tips and lifehacks that you use to soften the ‘back-to-work’. Feel free to reach out to us through our social media platforms, and or website.