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Summer is the season when most people look forward to a nice vacation from work. Few, however, look forward to returning to work after vacation. Usually, toward the end of any vacation, thoughts of everything facing you when you return to reality start to creep into your mind and take away from the relaxation you should be enjoying.
There are some things you can do in order to help ease your way back into work at the end of your vacation. Following these tips may allow you to really enjoy your vacation and not dread the inevitable return to work.
Plan On Returning to Work -
You plan your vacation, so why not also plan your return. Many try to stretch each minute of a vacation, returning home as late as possible on the day before they have to return to work. Regardless of when you come home, there is that jolt of reality waiting to grab you, and the later it is, the more stressful it can be. Plan to return home a little earlier on that final day and give yourself enough time to adjust to reality and organize your thoughts for your first day back at work. This will ease the stress of your last day of vacation as well as the stress of your first day back to work.
Add Adjustment Time to Your Calendar -
Consider the fact that everything you missed during your time off will be waiting for you when you get back. So, before you even leave, block off several hours on your calendar, or even the entire morning, if possible, of your first day back. This will minimize, or possibly even eliminate, the chances of you getting pulled into meetings first thing upon your return. You can take that time you blocked off to wade through everything in your inbox and catch up on what you missed. Give yourself that time to adjust before diving back in when you're already being behind.
Manage Your Top Five -
Naturally, you want to think of yourself as indispensable, but no one is. So, why force everything to wait for your return? Consider the top five items that may require action while you are away. Contact those who may need your decision and let them know who has your proxy while you are away. This might well serve to eliminate five things from your plate even while you are on vacation. Make sure your proxy knows how to reach you if absolutely necessary to keep things moving forward.
It is OK to Disconnect -
You must learn to disconnect while on vacation, or you will not have an actual vacation. It is difficult to stay disconnected, because as you get closer to the end of your vacation, you begin to wonder about your inbox, your emails, meetings on your calendar and voice mails. Resist checking on this until after you get back home. Accept the fact that you are going to miss out on something. There will be a big meeting, an important client email, or a voicemail needing a return call while you are out. Ensure all your away messages, voicemail, email, etc are clear about your return and whom to contact in your absence. Indicate you will not be available to check any messages until your return.
Create a To Do List -
Take a few minutes to create a “to do” list before you return to work. Either make one the day or night before, or go in a few minutes early that first day back and make one before you start anything else. Include only items that you can complete on your own, without anyone’s help or input. Knocking these items out quickly will ease a lot of the initial stress of that first day back at work.
You deserve to relax and unwind. You want to return to work without feeling stressed and forgetting you had a vacation within minutes of your return.
What has worked for you to accomplish a smooth vacation to work transition? Share your ideas by commenting below!