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Making the Most of Your Work in the New Year

January 13, 2020

It’s January, so if you are reading this article, you probably recently returned to work from the holidays. How well would you say your transition back to the office went? Was it smooth? Or did you struggle to find your way back to your normal routines? If you answered the latter, you are not alone.

Don’t get us wrong, it is certainly a privilege to get to take time off work for vacation. That said, the post-holidays adjustment can be a difficult one. When you disrupt your physical and mental routines, it can be hard to transition back into them. Today we want to offer some tips for successfully transitioning between vacation mode and office mode.

Before You Leave on Vacation
In order to make your post-holidays return to work as smooth as possible, you should start preparing before you even leave on vacation.

  • Make a list of things to check in on when you get back to work. This should include your bigger projects, as well as anything that you think might slip your mind easily.
  • Tidy up your workspace. If you clean up before you leave, you will get to return to a neat desk or office when you come back. This will help ease some of the chaos you might feel upon transitioning back to work.
  • Put up an away message on both your email and your voicemail. Let the people who try to contact you know for how long you will be out. Consider giving them a timeframe for when you expect to be able to return their call or email.
  • Work ahead, if possible. Try to do whatever will make your return to work easier.
  • Prepare mentally. This will likely look different for everyone, but take some time to think about your transition back to work. Maybe this looks like spending some time alone to recharge emotional energy. Perhaps it looks like scheduling one last night out with your friends—a last hurrah of your vacation.
  • Ease back into your normal sleep schedule a few days in advance of returning to work. This will make your transition smoother and easier.
  • Make a prioritized to-do list to help guide your day and week. Take your time with it so that you can be sure it is thorough and well organized.
  • Check your list—the one you made before leaving on vacation—to see what important items you need to make sure to address now that you’re back in the office.
  • Clean out your inbox and voicemail. Budget plenty of time specifically for this task. Be sure to return calls and emails within the timeframe you specified in your away message. Speaking of which…
  • Undo your away messages. Perhaps you set these up to turn off automatically at the end of your time out of the office. If not, make sure to disable your away messages manually.

Before You Return To Work
As your time off from work starts to come to a close, take these steps to prepare for your transition back to the office:

  • Prepare mentally. This will likely look different for everyone, but take some time to think about your transition back to work. Maybe this looks like spending some time alone to recharge emotional energy. Perhaps it looks like scheduling one last night out with your friends—a last hurrah of your vacation.
  • Ease back into your normal sleep schedule a few days in advance of returning to work. This will make your transition smoother and easier. 

Once You’re Back At Work
Finally, on your first day or two back to work after vacation, take care of the following:

  • Make a prioritized to-do list to help guide your day and week. Take your time with it so that you can be sure it is thorough and well organized.
  • Check your list—the one you made before leaving on vacation—to see what important items you need to make sure to address now that you’re back in the office.
  • Clean out your inbox and voicemail. Budget plenty of time specifically for this task. Be sure to return calls and emails within the timeframe you specified in your away message. Speaking of which…
  • Undo your away messages. Perhaps you set these up to turn off automatically at the end of your time out of the office. If not, make sure to disable your away messages manually.

Last of all, don’t forget to take things slowly. Like we mentioned above, the transition back to the office after the holidays or a long vacation can be very jarring. By following the tips outlined here, you can make the process easier. However, that does not mean that it will be entirely pain free. The best you can do is be mentally prepared and flexible as you exit vacation mode and head back to the office.