Refocus at Work after Summer Vacation
By Laura Vandiver, TVG VP of Research and Strategic Insight
Ah, summertime…the magical few months when most Americans tend to travel and relax on family vacations. I just returned from a glorious week in the mountains of Colorado, but now it’s time to refocus on work and attack my to-do list. But what is the best way to do that? How can the transition back into “work mode” be made smoother? Here are a few tips I’ve been thinking about this week since my return.
1. Plan for your return before you leave
Yes, before. Most of us are very focused on getting things wrapped up and organized so we can leave for vacation with tasks/projects delegated and all of our emails answered. But some simple planning before you leave can make your transition from vacation a lot easier. For instance, block out your calendar for the day you return. Spending that first day in meetings doesn’t help you get caught up on what happened while you were away. Use the time to go through your emails, have catch-up chats with co-workers, and prioritize your tasks (see tip 2).
2. Prioritize your tasks
While you’re away, work life keeps churning on. It also means you were probably assigned some new tasks to complete upon your return. Identify your tasks—old and new—and get them on paper. Prioritize each task by the level of urgency and the deadline for completion. Put time on your calendar to work on these to get you back on track more quickly. And remember: client work almost always comes first!
3. Check-in with your co-workers
Having quick check-ins with your co-workers will help get you up-to-speed more quickly than trudging through a long thread of emails. Ask about the meetings you missed (and gather notes from those meetings, if possible), how your clients did while you were away, and if there is anything you delegated that did not get completed in your absence.
4. Limit your distractions
I know, it’s hard. You get back from vacation and you’re glued to your phone again. But at least for that first day back, try to limit distractions from your phone, social media, and anything else that beeps, has notification settings, or is likely to draw you into a black hole of unproductive behavior! Try to find a quiet space to work so you can make progress on your task list.
5. Take breaks
Getting back to work after vacation is a transition period. Sometimes it takes a few days to get back in the swing of things. Don’t be too hard on yourself! Be sure to take breaks during the day to take a walk, listen to music, or grab a snack—whatever will help your mind stay focused throughout the work day.
Vacation is a vital part of maintaining a good work/life balance. Don’t be afraid to take your vacation time because you’re worried about the pile of work when you return. With a little planning and some specific strategies, your transition back can be easier and more efficient. So go explore this summer!
Have you taken a great vacation this summer? Have upcoming plans? Tweet us @VandiverGroup, and tell us about it! We would love to hear your tips for making the vacation-to-work transition easier.