Coming off from a long relaxing vacation, the first day at work might feel like a huge punch in the face as your brain tries to get back in work mode. Best way to describe the feeling is to picture the swollen face of Sylvester Stallone in the end of the 1st Rocky movie calling out for Adrian.
But instead of calling for Adrian it is the vanished vacation that you are calling for while everybody is trying to get a piece out of you.
Fortunately, it doesn't have to be that dramatic and there are ways to soften the blow of the harsh reality of being back at work.
It is totally normal to feel the vacation blues, because your brain is probably used to different activities and less stress. Therefore, don't worry about it too much and use the following best practices along with your rested body and mind to smooth into your daily routine.
First of all, make sure you have created an out-of-office reply and preferably set on for an extra workday. Even better, try to plan your vacation in a way that you will come home a few days before your first day back at work. That will leave you some room to unpack and organize your life, so you will be ready what is coming ahead.
In addition, it gives you a chance to check your e-mail and prioritize your task list. If you're brave enough you can try the “declaring email bankruptcy” method, which basically means that you delete all your emails that you received during the vacation. A more conservative approach is to flag the more important ones and delete the rest.
Secondly, once you are back at work try to limit the number of meetings. A good way to do that is to book your calendar in advance so that nobody else can plan your precious time.
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It is all about making the transition easier and giving yourself a break. If you are coming back on Monday, plan the most urgent meetings on Wednesday or Thursday. By that time you are up to date with your tasks and in the right mindset to perform well and be useful for your company.
Thirdly, it helps if your company or team is using some kind of project management or status reporting tool like Weekdone, Asana, Basecamp etc. These software make sure you are on top of your projects and constantly up to date of the current status of your team. This way you get a quick overview of things being done and what is coming ahead. For example, I had a nice 3 week summer vacation and just by looking at my Weekdone progress reports of my co-workers I knew instantly what has been done. Furthermore, I saw what the plans are ahead. Here is an example of what the reports look like – Weekdone status report template.
Therefore, helping to soften the blow of post vacation information overload. It also goes well with the email bankruptcy method, because you get a quicker overview of the current status without checking all your emails.
Finally, remind yourself it is not the last vacation you will ever have and after easing into the routine you are most likely more productive and less stressed.
Also, leave the office on time and try to do one thing at a time. That increases the chance of actually getting these first tasks scratched off your to-do list.
So, take the vacation blues on the chin and remember: “Life's not about how hard of a hit you can give, it's about how many you can take, and still keep moving forward.” – Rocky Balboa.