Some people can spend every day of their life on holiday and still make a good living – it depends on your attitude to work. But most of us work hard all year for our two week annual break. Great, while you are there, but how can you minimise the disruption and depression on return? Here are some great tips.
- Come back mid-week.
Apart from travel being cheaper midweek, the other big benefit is that you ease yourself back into work gently by not having a full week on the first week back.
- Start the day before and go back to work the day after your holiday.
Not going to work the day after your holiday (or working from home) doesn’t mean you don’t have to do any work before you return. Use that time to plan, catch up and organise.
Use the Sunday before you return to work to outline what you want to achieve the first week back. This is a good tip for every week.
- Get up early.
Start with better living habits than the weekday morning rush. Go to bed and set the alarm. Get up early and start the day out with between 30 and 60 minutes of meditation, setting your intention for the day/week/month at the end. Then go out and own it!
- Get your diet right.
Better living habits include food and getting healthy meals on track right away. Most of us do a lot of damage while away!
Visit the shops the day you get home or the very next and cook up a batch of healthy, whole foods (without added sugar!) for your first few days. This will ensure you feel better about yourself and start better habits, enhancing concentration.
- Delete, delete and delete your emails.
You will be swamped with messages. Despite my spam filter and ‘Clutter’ folders defending, I still manage an average of 300 emails a day in my inbox. When I came home from the US in May, I had more than 2,400 unread emails and this despite the fact that I’d checked email at least a couple of times a day while I was away.
How are you supposed to get through the inbox? The short answer is you aren’t. Instead of sorting through these emails, skim the subject line, rescue those you think you need and move the rest to a temporary holding folder ‘Holiday emails delete 2 weeks from return’. If it is really important, and you have deleted it, most people will email you again on your return when they get an ‘out of office’ from you. You have remembered to set that haven’t you!!
- If you must read emails, read them in last-to-first order.
Many issues have already been resolved by the time you return to the office so it is best to check the newest emails first. Don’t get caught responding after a deadline or composing the best email response ever to discover someone’s got their first. You really did remember to set the ‘out of office’ didn’t you?
- Take some time to find out what happened.
When you get to the office, regardless of whether you’ve been in regular touch throughout your break or totally unconnected, you’re probably a little bit out of the loop. How do you get up to speed quickly? With a stopwatch.
Sit down with each one of your key managers and put 5 minutes on the timer. They will give you the highlights of what has happened whilst you were away. If it can’t be said in 5 minutes, it wasn’t important enough in the first place.”
- Focus on big projects.
Use the time away to focus on some big ideas. Have at least three high-priority business development opportunities to discuss when you get back. These meetings will both get you excited and force you to ‘up your game’ immediately. That momentum will carry through the Autumn and hopefully continue as a new force in the business.
And you can encourage your team to get out of their comfort zone and work on ‘forward thinking’ projects or ‘magic wand’ ideas when they are away, or ‘on to’ for your return. This way you get their brains out of Summer 2016 and thinking about Winter 2016 successes.
And finally, you could always not stop working. As radical as this sounds, it’s what many of us are doing anyway by staying in touch through the break. Don’t be afraid to blend in work during your holiday but stay in control of the time work takes, allow a few hours at most and take advantage of the technology we have available today, WiFi, Skype, and mobile email, to stay productive. The upside here is that you will allow yourself to go on more vacations, and your team will be happy for you to do so, for longer amounts of time while not jeopardising your ability to get work done.
Let us know your best return-to-work productivity tips here.