September 07, 2015 - Posted to Writing Tips
Getting Over the Back-to-Work Shock after a Vacation
We all love our vacations - especially when we can leave town or the country, have exciting new experiences, eat and drink and just generally wear ourselves out from fun. But vacays do end, and the reality of returning to our normal lives and schedules hits with a “bang.” It’s really like a mini-culture shock. Hitting the office that first day back can be just dreadful, especially if you’ve been gone a couple of weeks – everything is backlogged and stacked up, and one look is enough. You are done for the day. Instead of going through this crisis each time you return from a vacation, try some of these tips to make transition smoother.
Come Home a Day Early
If you are scheduled to return to work on a Monday, then come home Saturday night. You will at least have all day Sunday and Sunday night to re-acclimate yourself to being home before you have the double whammy of the office too. If you come home on Sunday, you’re facing unpacking, laundry, etc. and then collapsing into bed exhausted, only to get up with that pesky alarm clock on Monday morning. And, of course, it is worse if you have been out of the country. You really need two days at home before going back to work.
Speaking of Those Household Chores
If your vacation has been extremely physically active, then you will need more rest the first week back, if only to give your body time to adjust to the more sedentary position it is now in. Going to work will be enough for you to do. So, delay the unpacking and laundry except for those essentials, and do it all gradually over several days. It’s not going anywhere! And if you have teens, they can do their own.
That Horrible Inbox
When you do return to work, your inbox will be full and your desk may be piled quite high with work. It’s enough to make you want to run back home. Instead, have a plan for dealing with it. The first step is to set priorities – only urgent stuff the first day back. So, if there is a project you did not finish before you left, it’s probably a pretty high priority now, if only to have it “out of your hair.” Check through your emails quickly and open those from bosses or important clients. Only answer those that are most urgent on that first day. The same goes for any work that has accumulated on your desk – divide it into piles – urgent, important, and not urgent. Only attack the urgent work that first day. And you may have to take some home or stay late, but at least you have a plan, and that plan will calm you down.
Pick and Easy Task
If you do not have extremely urgent stuff, but several things you should be working on, pick the easiest one to tackle first. Once you get an easy task accomplished, you will feel good about being back in the groove and it will motivate you to move forward.
Shorten Your First Day Back
Years ago, schools had the right idea. The first day back following summer vacation was always a ½ day for kids and teachers. It was a smart thing to do – a tradition that only a few school have maintained. Everyone needs to make a transition from long play back to work gradually, and the half-day is a big help. So, if you are able, make your first day back a 4-hour one. You’ll be far more ready to “hit it” on day two!
Your only other option is to give up those great energy-packed, stress relieving vacations, and that certainly is not an option!