Living in a holiday destination like Malta can make getting back into the swing of things quite a challenge. In most (possibly all) cases, you return thinking you’ll be all fueled up and ready to tackle new projects, but in reality you’re racing against time, trying to get through a long list of unopened emails, that have accumulated while you were away, as well as catching up on new projects, which leaves you feeling a bit overwhelmed. In principle, the only way to maintain your sanity upon your return from a holiday, is through preparation before you leave and organizing your work in order of priority once you return. So how do you deal with post-holiday work load?
Ease back into your routine
Feeling motivated on your first day back at work starts with some preparation beforehand. If you normally need to wake up early for work, ease into it slowly by setting your alarm clock earlier for a few days before you’re back at work. Preparing your lunch and clothes the night before you return to work, and ensuring that you have a good breakfast can help you feel more ready to face the day. Arriving slightly earlier at the office can also help you get a head-start on your to-do list and get going when it’s still fairly quiet. Keeping your calendar free on the first two days or so, will give you time to catch up on work and emails, it does not make sense to schedule meetings on your first day back if you’re not up to speed with what’s going on - unless of course the meeting is a ‘catch-up’ meeting.
Get an update from the person you left in charge
Before going on holiday, it would help to assign your ongoing projects to another colleague who can take over while you’re away, since you will not have internet access on your phone at all times (not to mention you’re on holiday, you should be relaxing not working). Identify the best suited colleague who can take on the tasks you need to have seen to while you’re away, and set a meeting with them to discuss all details necessary. Another useful tip is to add reminders on their calendar, this way you can make sure deadlines are met, particularly in cases where you are working with someone external. Once you’re back from your holiday, set a meeting with this colleague to get updates on your projects, and proceed to planning what you need to work on next.
Make a list and prioritize
Prior to leaving on holiday you should have written a list of all the projects and tasks which you need to complete in order of priority, categorizing what is urgent and needs to be done as soon as possible, and what can wait until the following week. It will help you work at a faster pace if you also include the current corresponding status of each project, so that you can monitor whether things are up to speed, while also plan the next step forward. You can also break down big, overwhelming projects into smaller, manageable tasks. This will help you feel more organised and can make tasks feel less overwhelming once you return.
Reconnecting with the people you work with is a great way of helping you feel motivated and happy to be back at work. It is also great to get an update on what has been happening, at times closing important gaps. Planning to go out for a coffee during your lunch break and catching up with a colleague can also help you have something to look forward to.
Get rid of any distractions
Although it might be tempting to check your social media, check the news and message your friends on your first day back at work, getting distracted with anything that is unrelated to work will make it difficult to focus your attention and get things done. Instead, make the most of your precious time at work by muting your phone in order to concentrate fully on the task at hand and try to schedule a short break in your day to help you recharge and increase your focus.
Power through your first day
Ultimately, the best trick to beating the post-holiday blues is to power through your first few days back at work. Ignoring any distractions, working on your most urgent tasks and ticking things off your to-do list to help you feel motivated and accomplished, and remind you why you love your job.
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