How to Get Back Into Work Mode After a Holiday

A week before a holiday is often when we’re at our productive best. However, the first few days back from a holiday can be stressful and demotivating, to say the least. The processes and projects we were experts at, all seem blurred after a holiday. How we get our productivity wigs on? How do we get into work-mode without pulling our hair out?

Here are 6 ways you can prepare for your return to the office after a holiday stress-free –

#1 Return a day earlier

While staying back at the beach or in the mountains for just one more day can be very enticing, it is always a good idea to head back home a day in advance. This buffer day will allow you to relax before your re-entry into the office. In addition, you also get a chance to unpack, do the laundry and sleep off jetlag. Focus of giving yourself time to relax, adjust and get back into the groove of things.

Of course, it may seem counter-intuitive to use a day of your vacation to prepare to get back to work. But strategically, it allows you to eliminate last-minute stress, and we definitely think it’s worth it.

#2 One step at a time

You’ve been on leave for a couple of weeks. There is going to be a lot of work and hundreds of emails. Remember that you should not try to do it all on the first day back. Start by mapping out the things you need to get done first and stick to it. This way, you’ll be in control of your tasks, and you will not feel overwhelmed with your workload.

Even though some people like to schedule meetings for the first day they’re back in the office, we suggest you not to. Keep day 1 for checking emails and catching up on pending tasks and day 2 for meetings.

#3 Tackle your inbox

The first step to tackling your inbox situation is to activate out-of-office responders before you leave for your vacation. This will notify people that you’re not available and will save you a ton of angry emails. Clearly state how long you’ll be gone for and who they can contact if their query is urgent.

Once you’re back, figure out a system to answer emails. Remember, you may return to a hundred emails, but not all of them will require responses. Start with the most important ones first, then move on to the emails sent right after you left. Once you have responded to these emails, end with the ones you have recently received.

#4 Create a to-do list

Create a to-do list of things you need to accomplish on your return. Create this list before you leave the office as there may be things that will need to be done in your absence. Ask help from your teammates or managers to help you accomplish these, so deadlines aren’t missed.

Once you back from your time off, refer to this to-do list to mentally prepare yourself before you start your day. Whether you decide to do the easy tasks first or, the tougher ones, stick to a routine that works for you.

#5 Drink water (or coffee!)

The first day back is usually the hardest. You may still be in vacay-mode, tired from jetlag or plain sad because you have to get back to work. Stay hydrated with lots of water and coffee to help you stay alert and energetic. If you aren’t a coffee person, try sipping on some tea. Tea, just like coffee, is known to revitalise your mental alertness and enhance concentration. 

#6 Take breaks

Take breaks during the day, even if you feel you don’t need it. Going into work-mode without taking a few minutes off will only lead you to burnout. Do not over-work yourself just because you were away. All your colleagues have also experienced a vacation. They won’t (and shouldn’t) expect you to finish two weeks’ worth of work in a day. 

Take a 5-minute breather every couple of hours, and you will feel more ready to take on pending work. In addition to breaks, make it a point to leave the office on time. This way, you won’t feel overworked and will be able to do justice to yourself and your work. 


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