For those who take a break over the holiday season, returning to the usual routine of work after (what for most is) a week of relaxing and dining can be a shock to the system.
Many are in the same boat at this time of year – arming yourself with the right skills and tools can help you get motivated again in no time.
Pre-Trip-Tip: Tie up all your loose ends before you go
It may be a little too late for those of you reading this on your first day back, but finishing everything properly before you head off can be the key to help you get motivated as you enter the new year
Whether it’s a comprehensive handover to your team or simply making sure you’ve ticked off everything on your to-do list, knowing you’ve done everything needed will make it easier to get back into things with a clean slate and will let you relax more during your time away.
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1. Block out the first part of your day to get to inbox zero
Whether you’ve been gone for a day or a month, the emails always pile up the moment you log off, and it’s hard to get motivated when you feel like there’s a mountain of emails to conquer.
Getting into your admin mindset will help you feel less overwhelmed, and also give you a firm idea of what needs to be in your list of priorities.
Sort your emails and figure out what needs action now, and what can wait.
Whether you’re spending the day working in the office, from your kitchen table, or from a coworking space, find a space where you can focus and plan out as much as you can for the coming week and/or month, before working back and filling in the smaller items your plan needs.
It’s much easier to be motivated when you can see your progress.
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However long your list is, sort it by priority and add an estimated time next to it – View anything that is time-consuming and difficult as one of your ‘frogs‘, and your simpler, shorter tasks as fast wins.
4. Communicate to your team
Setting the expectation that your first day back will be focussed on catching up rather than taking on new tasks is essential – unless you know you’re able to focus on getting a handle on your current list, things may fall by the wayside.
If you can commit your first day back fully to planning and getting your head back in the work zone, you’re setting yourself up to be able to step into your normal role on day 2 and be able to handle both planned and reactionary projects.
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5. Get a big win
As tempting as it can be to ease back in on the first day back, taking on a big task (or even just a high priority one!) helps you reinvigorate your sense of achievement at work, and also kicks your brain back into gear.
If your win is part of a bigger task, break it down until you have a substantial project that you know you can sink your teeth into and complete that day.
6. Get some quick wins
Just because you’ve been away doesn’t mean you need to chain yourself to your desk. Remember to take regular breaks still, and perhaps even treat yourself with a special lunch for your first day back on the job.
Your brain needs to get used to your usual workload again, and it’ll probably seem harder than before while you get back into the swing of things.
Don’t let yourself get too distracted though – you’ve still got to get through your list!
Nobody wants to spend all day slogging through the hard stuff, even when it’s helping create an easier tomorrow. By following your ‘frog’ with a mini-break and some fast win tasks, you can tick off your list efficiently and help get motivated once again.
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7. Learn from your mistakes
There’s a chance your first day back will show you all the gaps that were left before you headed away.
Make sure you remember that panic next time your calendar is winding up to go away and use it to get motivated and organise everything in advance.
Make a list of all the things that would’ve made it easier to hit the ground running this time around, and add it into your calendar just before your next time off – future-you will thank you!