I am sure I am not the only person who struggles to get back into the swing of things when coming back from vacation – either a short or long trip. We took a quick weekend trip to Nags Head a few weeks ago, and even that Monday morning was tough, even though it was only a few hours both ways!
I have a few tried and true strategies for sinking your teeth back into your work and starting your first day back off with minimal stress.
Do a brain dump first thing.
If you’ve been away from work for a vacation, the first thing you should do when you get back into the office or to your desk is dump everything out of your brain onto a piece of paper or an open word document.
I actually do my brain dumps the night before I return to work, so I can fall asleep in total peace, instead of counting to dos all night long.
Once you dump everything out, you can take the time to organize – assign tasks to yourself, schedule things on your calendar, etc. But first, get it out.
Protect your work-life separation during your vacation.
During your vacation, enjoy it. Turn off your work email notifications and remove Slack from your phone, too.
If you let work consume your vacation, you will not feel refreshed or relaxed when you get back to work. In fact, you will feel like you need another vacation.
Set an out-of-office reminder.
Make it clear to anyone who emails you at work that you are not just out of the office – you are on vacation! Set a point of contact in your workplace for emergencies that isn’t your personal cell phone. Respect your boundaries!
I do not recommend leaving your cell phone or any other avenue of communication in this out of office reminder. If you truly think there might be an emergency, communicate your contact
Don’t schedule any meetings or calls.
It is incredibly tempting to get to important meetings or phone calls the day you get back to work from vacation.
Don’t do it.
Take that day, if at all possible, to attack your inbox and your back-to-work todos. I’ve had several colleagues and clients schedule meetings with me on their first day back from vacation, and almost always, the meeting gets postponed. And I totally understand that!
Don’t set yourself up for failure on your first day back.
Clean before you go.
I always try to make sure I have a clean and happy house, before I leave for vacation. The longer the vacation, the more important that is to me.
Vacuum, do the majority of your laundry, make your bed with fresh sheets. Take care of all of the tasks that you would otherwise have to do on your first day back home. This way, when you walk in after your vacation, all you’ll have to do is unpack and unwind.
The last few trips we’ve taken, we’ve had a house sitter stay in the house with Theo. I definitely don’t ask much of my house sitter, but I make sure to ask that they run the Roomba every day, take the trash out, start the dishwasher and throw any towels and sheets they used into the washing machine.