While the vacation season is in full, here are a few tips to fight back your back-to-work blues.
When you come back to your daily routine with a fresh perspective, you will start to notice that you have ideas on how to approach stuff differently. Maybe an idea on how to be more productive passes through your thoughts. Remember to capture those ideas in a neat to-do list. Take notes and use them to your advantage. Who knows, maybe you will invent something that will save you tons of time, something that you were not aware is possible due to the daily rut you had been stuck in.
Clean your inbox
That is one of the first things that you should do after getting back to work. Brew yourself a damn fine cup of coffee and just start that Inbox Zero process. Archive everything that is not that important and flag or mark as to-do things that you will have to either take action or follow up on. It is important that you do not waste your time on irrelevant emails or messages. Remember, it is ok to ask if a given message/task is still relevant or what the current status thereof is — do not feel the pressure to immediately jump on every request that landed in your inbox during your vacation.
Do not just do; plan instead
That is right. Do not dive head first into the sea of tasks that you encounter. Mark every single actionable thing as an item on your to-do list. This will help you contain the chaos and complete tasks one by one with a calm mind. If you do not know how to manage your tasks properly, I can highly recommend watching David Allen in his natural environment.
Schedule Time for catching up
Prepare yourself for the fact that the amount of work that could await you after your time off will likely be too overwhelming for a single day's work. What is important is that you approach it with a plan. Plan your first week after the vacation in a way that the first hour of every day is reserved for stuff like getting your inbox to a zero, replying to every request, catching up with a discussion on Slack and planning stuff on your to-do list. It is crucial that you have a contingency plan and slowly but systematically catch up with your overdue stuff.
So here is to taking control of your work!