By Moira Dunne
We spend a lot of time throughout the year trying to be as productive as possible. So we need to make sure we also get enough holiday and down time to balance this. And while switching off is fantastic, the benefit can be ruined by our struggle to get back up to speed when we return to work. We examined what we could do to makes sure we could be productive after a holiday.
BUSY WEEK BEFORE YOU GO
The week before a holiday is often the busiest week of the year. We actually become super-productive as we crack through our To Do list in an attempt to clear everything before we leave. We want to make sure that we have communicated with everyone and tied up any loose ends.
HOLIDAY BLUES AFTER YOU RETURN
In contrast the first few days back from holiday can often be our least productive days. We find it really hard to tune back into our work. We can feel demotivated. We may still wish we were away and we don’t feel ready to resume the normal hectic pace. Even if we are happy to be back it can be hard to get our brains into gear. All those projects, details and issues that were so clear before we left can seem very blurred the first few days back.
So how can we take control and be productive after our holiday?
1. CAPTURE EVERYTHING BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Spend time thinking about the first couple of days back before you finish up. At this point you are really tuned into the finer details of every project or issue so this is the best time to record as much detail as you can. Prepare notes for meetings, jot down key points for reports, make draft plans for things your need to tackle that first week back. Expect to forget most of the knowledge in your head – that is the purpose of your holiday after all!
2. STRATEGICALLY SCHEDULE YOUR FIRST DAYS BACK
Some people like to ease back into things with a low key schedule but I find the opposite works best for me. I arrange a couple of key meetings so that I kick start myself back into a productive mode quickly. I don’t welcome this approach on the first morning back but by the end of the day I am glad.
Consider what works best for you, your role and your environment. But be prepared to challenge yourself if you need to. Try our Weekly Planner template to help you map out that first week back.
3. CAPITALISE ON YOUR RELAXED MIND
If you have successfully switched off during your holiday your mind will probably be free from all the usually stress and clutter. Some of the best ideas come to mind when you can see things more clearly and objectively. So use this unique state of mind to do some creative thinking and planning. But be careful: you can sometimes be too free-thinking and unrestrained that first day back. Make sure you don’t upset anyone by speaking too openly or honestly!
4. RESUME YOUR ROUTINES
It can take some time to get back into productive habits when you first return. If you exercise on a regular week day try to resume the first day back to work. Enable your healthy eating habits by ensuring you have time to visit the supermarket before your first day back to set yourself up for a healthy week. Here are some tips about what foods you can eat to boost productivity What You Eat Affects Your Productivity
5. BE NICE TO YOURSELF
If you can reward yourself for your productive return to work with an early finish time the first few days. Maintain some of your holiday buzz by doing something you really enjoy like a cinema trip, a treatment or a (healthy!) meal out.
So have a great holiday and let me know if any of these tips work for you. And of course please share your own ideas and tips in the Comments below.