Similar to the dread of returning back to school after the holidays, returning back to work after summer vacation can be a challenging time. After soaking up the sun and sleeping in, the last thing you want to think about is work. But when that first alarm goes off after Labour Day, it’s time to snap back to reality. So grab an extra large cup of coffee and listen to our end-of-summer survival guide to office work.
Plan for your return
While the thought of opening your email before getting in the office might fill you with dread, getting a quiet headstart on the piles of emails awaiting you in your inbox will lighten your load and lessen the stress of a Monday morning. Figure out a system to answering the most important one and prioritizing the others. You might have hundreds of emails waiting for you, but not everyone will require a response. Consider starting a day early and dedicating an hour or two of your time to organizing and managing your inbox. You’ll thank yourself later.
Strategize your task load
During your first week back, you’ll benefit from prioritizing your tasks. Map out your to-do’s and put your older tasks at the top. If you focus on tasks you’re familiar with, or are partially done, you will avoid feeling overwhelmed. Also, being able to quickly check-off one or two tasks per day will boost your morale. After you’ve caught up on outstanding tasks, then you can begin to tackle your newer assignments once you feel more settled back into a work routine. Take your time and conquer one thing at a time and the readjustment from vacation to work won’t feel as bad.
Organize your workspace
Take a minute and declutter, reorganize and reinvigorate your desk. It’s a good strategy for switching your brain back into work mode. Recycle older papers that you no longer need and bring in new, colourful personal items to help make your space more comfortable. It’ll give your mind a task to work on that’s enjoyable while still gearing you up for your workload ahead.
Resume your regular routine
Working out, grocery shopping and weekly wine nights might be hard to schedule in the first weeks back into working. Yet committing to an established routine early will build healthy habits for later if you slack off now. A regular routine will help you feel happy and productive and provide some much needed structure after a summer full of relaxing.
Get a good night’s sleep
One of the best things you can do is get a good night’s sleep the night before and the night of. This will help your productivity levels, lessen anxiety and allow you to show up refreshed and ready for the day. This means avoiding coffee later in the afternoon, as caffeine could inhibit
healthy sleeping patterns. Instead, try a herbal tea before it’s time to turn in and you’ll find it to be a calming additive to your nightly routine. It’s easy to feel burned out and overwhelmed after a long period away from work. But if you take it slow, give yourself some prep time and maybe order a double espresso instead of a regular one in the morning, your return to the office can be a manageable one.