Everyone looks forward to a break over the summer, but returning to work can make you feel like you need another holiday! In fact, research shows that getting back into our routine after a break can lead to sluggishness and demotivation.
So here are 10 tips for keeping that post-holiday serenity going a little while longer and making your return to work more positive.
- Make a list of projects before you leave: When you’re away from the office for an extended period, it’s easy to forget details, so a clear reference point will be a blessing when you return. Make a list of every project you’re working on and where you’re at. Then make a short list of the most important tasks to tackle on your return. This is also a great opportunity to edit your to-do list. If something has been on your agenda for six months and you haven’t found time to do it, it may be time to delegate or delete.
- Plan your first day and week: Before you leave, review your calendar and map out what your first day back might look like. Write a to-do list, leave notes to yourself about meetings or deadlines, and prepare any materials you might need first thing. This will help you feel in control when you arrive back, and may even get you excited for the weeks and months ahead.
- Give yourself a buffer day: Try to have a day off between returning from holiday and going back to work. It may seem like a waste, but it lets you return to a normal routine with minimal pressure. You can use the extra day for catching up on washing, grocery shopping, meal planning and generally getting organised. None of which is glamorous, but it can make your return to work smoother.
- Return to work later in the week: Starting work on a Wednesday or Thursday will allow you to ease back in with a weekend just around the corner! This can really help you beat those post-holiday blues. It gives you a few days to catch up and see what’s coming up, so you can start your first full week feeling on top of things.
- Start earlier than usual: There are a few good reasons for starting early on your first day back. Leaving home earlier will help you avoid the anxiety that may come with commuting, and if you drive to work, you may beat the traffic (which is even more satisfying when you’re dealing with post-holiday blues). It may also give you some quiet time in the office. It can be overwhelming to have tasks or questions thrown at you the minute you walk in the door. Arriving early allows you to grab a coffee, tidy your desk and get everything in order first.
- Start with small, simple tasks: If you’re struggling to get motivated on your first day, get a jumpstart by tackling one small (but still important) task on your to-do list. There’s nothing as invigorating as ticking something off your list.
- Tackle emails by importance: If there’s one thing that will burst your holiday bubble, it’s looking at your email backlog. This can be overwhelming but there are a few helpful strategies for handling it. Set up filters by sender and/or subject to ensure you don’t miss important emails. A quick scan of the remaining emails should be enough to help you delete the bulk of them and process the rest chronologically, by conversation or other sort criteria. Inbox overwhelm avoided!
- Look after yourself: Tuning your mind and body back into work mode can be tiring. Don’t make it more difficult by adding challenging exercise routines or dramatic diet changes. Even if you feel you overindulged during the break, resist the urge to sign up for boot camp right away. Ease back in with yoga, swimming or other light exercise. And no matter how much work you have on, try to leave the office on time. Going on holidays shouldn’t mean extra hours as punishment!
- Set new goals: Whether you’re returning to work in the new year or coming back at another time of year, setting new goals is a great way to prevent boredom. Identify an area in your job that you’d like to change or improve, and restart work knowing you have a challenge ahead of you.
- Plan another holiday: It always helps to have something non-work related to look forward to! So if your schedule permits, plan your next break. Whether it’s a holiday to a new destination or simply some relaxing time at home, having your next break planned will give your energy and mood a boost.
It’s normal to feel a little unmotivated when you return to work after a break. But if going back to work triggers depression or anxiety for you, it might be time to think about a change in job or career. Our career counselling or resume writing services could be just what you need.