Coming back from vacation is so overwhelming that it’s tempting to just never take one. That’s basically been my approach for 2022. To state the obvious, that is not healthy.
After spending time relaxing on the beach it’s ironic to come back and immediately be stressed with all you have to accomplish. So how do you not lose your mind your first day back…which always seems to coincide with a Monday? Here are my tips, which I am currently putting into practice after 8 days off.
Set Realistic Expectations
You’re not going to get caught up or get everything done in one day, so chill the f*ck out. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and take a minute before jumping into everything. There is no prize for logging on at 6:00 a.m. the day you get back.
Use the 3-4-2 rule, which I just made up on the spot. Set your top 3 priorities for the day, these are things that absolutely HAVE to get done…like the world will stop if they don’t. Then map out your secondary priorities, no more than 4. These are important but could be pushed off to the next day, often these are the top priorities for the following day. Then map out your “want to” activities. These could be something like writing a blog, like this one that is absolutely not in my top 3 but I broke my own rule to help all of you…just part of my giving nature. Cue the sarcasm.
The last thing you need is a bunch of meetings to stress you out. Set aside the first two days to focus on major priorities, you’re gonna feel a lot less harried. Don’t make excuses why you can’t do this, cause you can. I believe in you.
Meetings are so often the bane of our existence and they don’t have to be. In a future blog, I’ll share how to run truly productive meetings.
Do Not Disturb
You’re gonna need uninterrupted work time. Don’t jump on chat, Slack or whatever other messaging tool your team uses until it is absolutely necessary. This also means you don’t jump into your emails right away, nothing will stress you out like 500 unread messages. If you can, sort through your emails a few times while you’re on vacation, it’ll eliminate any surprises when you get back.
You gotta find what works for you, and nothing you do will fully eliminate the dread or stress you have returning to work after being off. I truly believe we have to change our mindset and eliminate the unrealistic expectation we set for ourselves. It’s ok to take a few days to fully catch up on things.