However you spent winter holidays, it can be quite challenging to recover your productivity thereafter. Whether you are tired, windbitten, jet-lagged, or simply extremely happy and relaxed, diving back into work is probably the last thing you want to do. Adulting is hard, but it must be done.
With this article, we hope to guide you through this brutal process and help smooth your transition from party people to working heroes 🙂 Our advice is addressed to those who are working from home, yet it can be applied at the office as well.
1 Don’t jump right in
You might be tempted to prolong your vacation as much as possible, and return home right before your time off from work ends. But that usually proves to be a big mistake. Nothing cuts off your vacation mojo as much as jumping right back into work.
Let that feeling of joy settle in by coming back at least two days before work starts. Use the time off to slowly dive back into usual life, do some light chores, and try to relax while holding on to that marvelous vacation mood.
2 Start early
Go to bed early the night before your first day back at the office. Set your alarm earlier than usual and ease yourself back into the working life. This will give you time to prepare even if you feel totally out of it. It’s quite common to lose your rhythm after a period of absence so don’t feel discouraged if you find yourself running around the house unable to find what you need. It will eventually come to you but until then, be happy that waking up early gave you some extra time just for that.
3 Take it easy
Take the beginning of your first day to get organized and re-adjusted to the work environment. Prepare your workspace, bring some water, and log into your team communication app. Have a friendly chat with your colleagues, they might help you settle in by bringing you up to date with everything you missed while you were away.
4 Have a plan
Making a to-do list could keep you on track throughout the day. Write down all the tasks that must be done in order of their importance. If you find it more helpful, put sticky notes around your monitor and refer to them when your mind starts to wander. And always remember to let time work for you (not against you)!
5 Get your routine back
After even a few days of absence, your brain disconnects and gets used to new habits. Going back to the same routines might take a while, but it’s imperative if you want to regain your productivity. Start your day the same way you did before, drink the same type of coffee, get to work at the same time, and sit in the same spot. Routines make it easier for your brain to activate the so-called ‘auto-pilot’ and get your productivity back.
6 Share experiences
Talk to your team about your vacation, share the joy and strengthen team bonds in one shot. You might already know it from experience, but science confirms it: happiness is contagious. One happy person can spread good vibes and lift the mood of an entire group. And we all know that happy employees are more productive.
7 Use a strategy for email
Before opening your inbox, you should come up with a strategy that will help you avoid spending all day going through emails. Make a plan and stick to it. Skim through the subject lines and open the most important ones first. Sort all messages into categories by order of importance and urgency. Establish if more of them require similar replies and use a template message to answer those. Don’t dwell on it for too long, especially since most messages probably won’t require an urgent response.
8 Avoid multitasking
Multitasking often seems like a good idea since it helps you save time and get more done. However, studies show that even if some people can perform more than one task at a time with satisfying results, multitasking results in a great loss of accuracy. Therefore, even if you feel like the day is too short to catch up with everything, it’s not a good idea to cut corners by juggling multiple tasks at one time. Remember that there is always tomorrow.
9 WFH, beware!
If you are working from home, you might find it more difficult to regain your focus.
You need to keep yourself accountable and constantly remind yourself to stay motivated. Start with small tasks and don’t let yourself be distracted by family, chores, or quick errands. Most distractions can be avoided simply by locking away your phone in a drawer and restricting social media access during work hours. Remind yourself of the reasons why you are doing what you are doing, how your work can help you reach your life goals, and why you need to do it. It might be hard, but it’s definitely not impossible.
Ultimately, create a remote work schedule that’s good for you.
10 Don’t let go
Even after work starts, don’t be too fast to let go of the peace and mindfulness gained during your vacation. Spend the first few days taking daydreaming breaks. You can do that simply by standing in your office chair: close your eyes and think of your favorite memories. If it helps, burn some scented candles that remind you of the places you visited. These short breaks will help you not get overwhelmed by difficult tasks, especially when you don’t feel like doing any of that… yet 🙂
If need more time to get re-adjusted and recover your productivity after longer winter holidays, don’t panic. We are all different and there is no one-size-fits-all strategy to get your mojo back. Once you get back on the horse, you will eventually remember how to ride, that’s for sure.