Back to Reality

Yesterday was my first day back in the office after being out for 10 days due to business travel and vacation. In this day and age, being out one day feels like you’ve been gone for a week. And what do we come back to? Endless emails to delete  read, mail to sort through and all of the projects that seem to pop up while you’re out of the office. So how do I manage this? Here are some simple tips that have helped me transition from vacation mode to work mode.

1. Treat my first day back as an off day. Yes, I’m in the office, but don’t expect much from me.  When I sat down in front of my desktop yesterday, I couldn’t remember my network password. Luckily, I have it written down. If it’s going to take me more than five minutes to log into my computer, you have a pretty good sense of how productive I’m going to be for the rest of the day.

2. Deal with email early. My goal for this year is to keep my inbox to under 500 messages. I’ve succeeded more often than failed because I tackled it head on.  When I’m first back in the office, I slash, burn, and archive until I’m down to a reasonable number (between 150 and 200).

3. Get it on the calendar. Just because you’re out of the office doesn’t mean meetings won’t be planned. Make note of all of your appointments including meetings you promised to have before you left. In my head, if it’s not on my calendar, the meeting didn’t happen.

4. Make a to-do list. Not only will the list help you organize your first few days back in the office, it will also help you remember what was going on before you left.

5. Don’t forget to breathe. Getting back into work mode can be a challenge. Accept it and know that you’ll do better tomorrow.

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2 thoughts on “Back to Reality

  1. Stef, this is great advice, especially treat the 1st day back like a vacation day. I usually hide out completely and power through my in box. And, yes, BREATHE, because when you are feeling the residual, positive effects of vacation being threatened by your real work life, it can be stressful.

  2. I’m glad I saw this before I went on vacation. It will only be a day, but it was only a day last week and I was a bit tense. And it will be two days next week, and then things settle. Thank you for the reminder that I am the one that needs to settle, not things!

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