Pre-vacation, you left the office with glee. You reviewed your to-do list in detail with the person covering for you, and you set your “out of the office” auto-reply email with gusto.
Unfortunately, coming back from vacation – and re-entering “the real world” – isn’t nearly as much fun. Here are some tips on ways to get back to your routine after the party is over:
Don’t schedule a flight home that arrives late the night before you’ll be returning to work. Try to give yourself time to be at home and perhaps get caught up on laundry and grocery shopping (not to mention getting a good night’s sleep) before jumping back into your work life. You’ll return to your job more refreshed and ready if you’re well rested and things aren’t a mess at home.
Don’t schedule meetings your first day back in the office, if you can help it. Instead, use the day to ease back into your routine, catch up on emails, and catch up with colleagues on the status of projects.
Spend your first few minutes back organizing your desk. Chances are, you have a stack of things that have accumulated – from mail to print-outs to notes from co-workers – and trying to get caught up amidst a mess is a recipe for disaster.
Fight the urge to do more than one thing at once. Yes, you have a full to-do list, but try to chip away at one thing at a time – giving each item your full attention – rather than juggling several tasks at once.
Give yourself something to look forward to during your first week back by scheduling lunch or a coffee date with some co-workers or friends.
As you start to ease back into things, your mind will start racing with your list of things to tackle. Take a deep breath, write everything that comes to mind down, and then organize and triage the tasks.
If possible, try to keep your after-work hours rather clear as you’re easing back into your schedule. This will allow for extra time to catch up on work as well as giving you time to get enough sleep (perhaps you’re readjusting to your time zone) and feel caught up with life in general.