Everyone needs a vacation at some point. No matter how much you love your work, how flexible its hours are, how much it allows you to balance work with life, eventually you’ll need to unplug and take a complete break to wash off the inevitable buildup of stress. On vacation, you can relax in a way that a weekend simply doesn’t allow you to.
But all good things come to an end. Many people struggle going back to work after a vacation. Even if you’ve properly prepared for your absence at work, it’s quite possible you’ll be dreading work toward the end of your vacation. But it needn’t be this way. Here are 5 ways you can get yourself back in gear quickly after you’ve come back from a long vacation.
Add a Buffer Day
Don’t take a trip to the other side of the world and fly a red-eye back the day you’re supposed to start working. Unless it’s a stay-at-home vacay, place at least one buffer day between when you come back from your trip and when you have to start working. Unpack, do some chores around the house, get enough sleep, and mentally prepare yourself for work the next day. Your transition from vacation to work will be much smoother as a result.
If you have the misfortune of working for a company that likes meetings where an email or Slack message could do, resist all attempts to schedule meetings from the moment you’re back. First, you need to regain a sense of control. This means going through your emails, documents, news, and other messages so you understand what’s been going on.
While doing so, put all your tasks on a list. Once that’s done, prioritize those tasks on another list. These two lists alone will help contain the chaos and give you a good idea of what you need to do first. Meetings will only disturb this process and make it feel as if you’re being thrown left and right without any real idea of what’s going on.
Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
It’s okay to take it easy at first. You’re allowed to pick up steam; few people will expect you to be fully productive from the second you start working. Write out the two lists mentioned above and, going down the priority list, complete each task one by one. Above all, resist the temptation to multitask. Eventually, you’ll feel as if you’re back in the swing of things. Just don’t think you need to do everything immediately.
Plan Your Next Vacation
One way to alleviate the post-vacation blues is by planning your next vacation. It could be months in the future, but work is much easier when you have something to look forward to. It needn’t be a long vacation either; it could be just an activity. But if you plan something you’re excited about, work won’t seem as endless as it might otherwise.
Vacations have the incredible ability to add a fresh perspective to aspects of your work. You might come back from vacation and realize that the things you were doing this way previously could be done better that way. Write those ideas down! Or, even better, implement them. Try them out. If a vacation gives you ideas to make you a more productive worker, don’t let them slide by.
Add a buffer day, avoid meetings, don’t be too hard on yourself, plan your next vacation, and capture ideas. These 5 ways will help you regain your productivity quickly when coming back from a long vacation.