As much as you’ve willed it not to, summer—and summer vacations—must come to an end. Two types of situations are likely to occur as your vacations wind down: either there is this fantastical vision of “everything will be fine” upon your first day of work back, so you bask in blissful ignorance; or you begin to stress out about the piles of work that might await you, so you spend the last days of your vacation attempting to catch up when in reality you get nothing done. To avoid both and to feel a little less guilty about being away from work, prepare for your first days back with a few tips.
Come back a day early.
Most people try to maximize their week vacations by coming home Sunday night and work on Monday. Prepare for your return like you prepare for your departure- come back on Saturday so you have an extra day for errands and to catch up on emails. If a Sunday night arrival is impossible to avoid, consider taking Monday off to lessen the stress of going back to work with a 4-day week.
Prepare a task-list.
Before you start to scan through emails, make a list of the tasks you know you want to accomplish upon your return, including responding to emails. This might seem self-explanatory, but a list doesn’t just put your thoughts to paper—it decreases the stress build-up as you begin to think about your upcoming days.
Transition, transition, transition.
Who said you had to get everything you missed accomplished the first day back? Keep your out-of-office autoreply on and treat the first day back as what it actually is—a transition period from vacation-mode to work-mode. Realize that not all meetings need to be made up on the first day, and protect your catching-up time just as much as you protect meeting and lunch times.
Delete your inbox.
No, not your entire inbox-scan for flagged emails and from regular recipients and delete the rest. If some emails get lost in the mix, your out-of-office autoreply is usually a good indicator that sometimes emails are overlooked, and people will be persistent. You’re not the only person at the work place—there are other people who have probably managed or resolved problems you were emailed about. If deleting your email seems too daunting, consider archiving instead.
Plan your next vacation.
Book the next trip that you’ve been dying to go on as soon as your work routine becomes normal again. Having something to look forward to makes work a lot easier.
Picture from: www.telegraph.co.uk