Who among us has not been looking forward to the Eid Adha holiday to take a break and unwind from the stress of everyday life and work. Even if you have been working from home as a part of the precautionary measures taken during the Coronavirus pandemic, a complete break and a nice vacation somewhere far from work is much needed every once in a while to give your mind a break and a chance to re-energize.
Unfortunately, returning to work after a vacation can make you feel like you need another vacation. But is there a secret to keeping your mind clear and sharp after vacation so you can return to work with 100% efficiency?
Fortunately, with a little strategic planning before the vacation, you can achieve a smooth exit and a perfect comeback! Here are 10 tips from professionals and experts who manage to keep a positive smile and demeanor when returning to work after vacation.
Make a list of your projects and tasks before you leave for vacation
Being away from work is enough to take you out of everyday detail, so it helps to have a checklist when you return. We recommend making two lists. The first is a list for each project you are working on and the steps for managing it, whether you were waiting for a reaction to a draft proposal, a response from a client, or a deadline for submitting a report, and all of the required papers or files. And the second one is a short priority list of the first things you plan to work on once you return. Business priorities can change quickly, but starting with a list gives you a better starting point no matter what happens.
This is also a good opportunity to adjust your to-do list and get rid of all the things that have been taking too long to get around to, so you might want to move all of those late tasks into your “May not be done” list. Be honest with yourself; if something is on your agenda and has been for over six months and you haven’t found the right time to get to it, then it’s time to delete or delegate it.
Delegate the tasks that cannot wait until your return
You might be in the midst of your vacation and still have to go through a client’s affairs, file reports, and meet deadlines. So make sure you are clear about who is responsible for covering all of those urgent tasks while you are gone. You can give a delegated business team member an overview of the deadlines, making sure they have all the information to do the work efficiently. Also, share with your leader or manager the person in charge of each task so that they don’t have to go after everything to make sure all the critical tasks are covered.
Set up an email that you are out of the office with a voicemail message
This task is often overlooked until the last minute, so don’t wait. Outlook and Gmail will allow you to schedule the holiday alert notification in advance. And make sure to set the alternate on whether to only check messages while you are away and leave an alternate contact to communicate regarding urgent matters.
Ask your manager to email you the day before you return to work
Depending on your relationship with your manager, this may or may not work for you. However, having a quick message that lists the critical priorities for your first day’s task can do wonders for your efficiency and focus.
Getting together with your manager early morning on your first day of work after vacation is a good alternative. Of course, everyone is busy, so it is recommended that you get an appointment on your manager’s calendar before you leave. Even a short meeting can give you a chance to gather your thoughts anew and focus on the most urgent matters.
Arrange everything before you leave
This applies to your workplace and your home. At work, store those contracts piled up on the floor, organize notes on your desk, and file mail. This step doesn’t guarantee you’ll return to the office with 100% perfection, but you will have a better starting point. It is also a great way to ensure that all urgent matters are delegated.
At home, spend an observant hour. We know your brain is really on vacation and it’s hard to focus on daily chores, but this single hour will do you wonders after returning from vacation. Make sure to take out the trash, clean the refrigerator, and vacuum. It also wouldn’t hurt to check out your private pantry and stock up on simple, non-perishable snacks for kitchen visits that are running at maximum power in the middle of the night.
Give yourself a break
If you can, try to give yourself a rest day after coming back from vacation and before going back to work. It might seem counterintuitive to use a day off just because you are at home, but strategically, this gives you space to get back to normal with less stress. The extra day can be used to do laundry, grocery shopping, meal planning for the week, and naps to cope with flight delays if you’ve gone on vacation. None of this works like magic or anything, but taking care of these tasks can make your return to work a lot smoother.
Check your business calendar
Look at your work calendar the day before you return so that you aren’t surprised by what meetings you should attend. If you discover unexpected surprises, try to organize them from the simpler to the more complicated tasks to determine whether all tasks will be doable in time and whether any tasks or meetings can be postponed or are not of high urgency as the rest.
Arrange your office on return
Even if you leave a full-fledged office before you go on vacation, you’ll likely be back into a mixed mess of reports, unopened mail, etc. Take a few minutes to tidy up everything, have important documents in order for follow-up action, while taking out reports that are no longer relevant. This will help you feel more organized and get a better start on things.
Don’t be in a hurry to show oneself
Sure, your boss knows you are back through your instant reports. However, don’t go overboard with everything and show yourself, there is no harm in waiting for your return announcement across departments for a day or two. This eclectic style gives you a chance to catch up again with a natural rhythm without extra pressure.
Consider delaying physical training programs
With travel and time zone changes, different foods, and different activity patterns, your body and mind are already undergoing major stress. Don’t make it worse by adding tough exercise routines or major diet changes. Even if you feel guilty and over the weekend, resist the urge to sign up for the grueling CrossFit training program. Just relax on the way back with a pair of yoga lessons, swimming, or light exercise.
In conclusion, the secret to maintaining clarity of mind and active return to work is a combination of smart preparation and strategic arrangement. No matter how urgent tasks and pressures are, try to leave the office on time. Going on vacation does not mean that you have to spend extra hours in the office as punishment! Make sure you re-energize and relax and do the things you enjoy. This is important for mental and physical health, as well as returning to work with a clearer mind and better performance. That way, the benefits of spending the vacation will stay with you longer.