Returning to work after a vacation can be a difficult adjustment. Your mind goes into overdrive constantly thinking of old projects, new projects, laundry, cooking, cleaning, and everything else that you need to take care of. With an extensive to-do list and a backlog of emails, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the different tasks floating through your mind. Don’t let this intimidate you. Taking that vacation is a huge benefit for both yourself and your company. It allows you time to free your mind and relax, which in turn sparks your creativity.
While you’re on vacation, try to really let it sync in and put work out of your mind. You may have a long to-do list to attend to when you return, but for now you’re on a beach in Mexico. The only decision you need to make is whether you should go to the ground bar or pool bar for your next Margarita. If you truly enjoy your surroundings and allow yourself to relax, the transition back home will go smoother than expected.
Keep Your Vacation Mentality
Your first day back at work may inspire you to book your next vacation. Though you’re back from this trip, nothing is stopping you from brainstorming ideas for your next destination. It may be too soon to book something but you can definitely start researching places on your downtime. You can plan a weekend trip for the near future or fun evenings with your friends and family. I’m a strong believer in having balance in your life. Yes, you’re back at work but that doesn’t mean the fun needs to stop. Now that summer is quickly approaching, your town most likely has different outdoor events planned, such as music festivals or outdoor flea markets. A few weeks ago, I was running in Philadelphia and came across a festival with over 30 of the district’s restaurants and bars serving fantastic food and drinks. I may not have been on vacation but I was definitely appreciating the live band and relaxing atmosphere.
You also may want to try something you’ve never done before, like a hip-hop class or a yoga class that will help you feel healthy and active. These are all ideas that will help you feel less of the post-vacation blues and more of the warm weather happiness we all look forward to. The quickest way to feel dissatisfaction with your work is to constantly look forward to the next trip or vacation. Keeping that vacation mentality throughout the year will make you feel excited about your hometown and making the most of your free time. Choose to enjoy your life and make the most of your day, regardless of your location.
If you’re dreading your return back to work, it may be because you’re focusing on the negative aspects of your job. Think about the long-term picture and what you hope to accomplish in your career. Every job has aspects of it that you truly love and others that you would rather not do. By focusing on the positives, you will feel more motivated to jump back in and work towards achieving the goals and accomplishments you previously set out for yourself.
Organize Your Life
Give yourself time to go through your voicemails, emails, mail items and anything else that arrived while you were away. If possible, I would allot a day for this. Take your time with this so you don’t inadvertently forget to respond to someone. I like to check my emails the night before going back to work so that I’m not completely lost the next day. This also gives me the chance to prioritize tasks for my first day back. Try to avoid scheduling any big presentations or meetings on your first day back so that you have time to catch up. Once you’re finished organizing, this can give you a sense of accomplishment and help you become ready to immerse yourself back into the working world.
If you are able to arrive an hour or two early to work, this time will allow you to start moving projects in advance before everyone else comes in. Before you leave for vacation, try to complete as many projects as you can ahead of time so that your workload is lighter when you return. When you return, schedule deadlines for all of your new action items. I like to schedule pseudo-deadlines on my Outlook calendar to help me stay on top of things. Keep these deadlines realistic and manage other people’s expectations of when you will submit your work. It’s always best to give yourself more time and then exceed someone’s expectations by delivering work way in advance.
You’ve just returned from your trip and you have the tan to prove it. Now it’s time to get back to business and ease back into your career without abandoning the much-earned relaxation you so desperately needed.