I am a firm believer that we need to have plenty of down time outside of our busy work and business lives. That time – whether it be binge watching your favorite show, spending a weekend away with a loved one or even just doing some shopping for yourself – is what we’re ultimately working so hard for. We work to live – not work to work. We should ultimately be enjoying all the rewards of the work we’ve put in – even if we’re not where we want to be at any given time!
It’s hard sometimes though, having that down time and coming back motivated and ready to work. It’s hard when we’ve worked so hard to get that vacation and we come back and need to get back into the swing of things – particularly for those of us who are business owners. Our to-do lists are so long that we often times can’t even stop working to take that vacation (as I type this, while I’m on vacation…#guilty)
I’ve started to train my mind to do a few things, to help me get back in the headspace of getting motivated when I come back from a break. Here’s a few things I do….
Create a prioritized to-do list
Prioritizing is crucial to getting back into the swing of things. When you are off on vacation or just taking some time away – its very likely that when you return everything is priority number one, or it at least feels that way. In reality, while everything is probably important it’s not all priority number one. Create a list and categorize things into different priority levels: Urgent, Time Sensitive, Important and For Later. Urgent for things that need to be done asap, they’re past due or have a short turn around time. Time Sensitive for things that you have upcoming deadlines for but can possibly do them tomorrow after the urgent items are done. Important for things that definitely need to be done but can wait until you’ve met your other deadlines. For Later are the items that you need to do at some point but are not essential the running of your business or your job.
When we are able to really prioritize, especially after returning from some downtime, it can help you to feel less overwhelmed, more organized and quickly get up to speed without feeling frantic.
Set Solid Boundaries
For me, in my day job, when I come back to work it’s typically an onslaught of requests, complaints and meetings. But it’s also full of important things that I often times need to get done because it affects employees. Setting clear boundaries with staff, clients or coworkers is essential for you to get back into the swing of things. So how do we set solid boundaries? Here are a few tactics I personally use:
- Use your calendar to death. When I’m getting back to work, I block off time in my calendar so employees can see when I’m available or not. It cuts back on people trying to drag me, unnecessarily into meetings. But also allows for people to put time on my calendar if they have important stuff to discuss. Obviously you need to have your calendar open for others to see.
- Give yourself “office hours”. Try checking your only at certain times a day, even send out an email letting people know to contact you via the phone if it’s urgent. I personally try to limit myself from replying to every email right away, and waiting to respond until I finish what I’m working on.
- Focus on one thing at a time. We’re taught, especially as women, that multi tasking is a skill and impressive. But in reality, it’s WAY less productive. If you spend an hour working on two different things at once when the first task could have taken you a solid 20 minutes to finish and the second a solid 15…You could have saved yourself 25 minutes that you can put towards a different task. I’m a strong believer in doing one thing at a time. We’re more efficient this way. Not to mention, if you’re diving your attention between multiple tasks, you can’t possibly give 100% to each task – the quality of your task will be diminished. More mistakes will be made and you’ll end up having to fix things later.
- Be vocal. A lot of times we just assume people will think we’re busy after we’ve gotten back from a break – but the reality of it is, they often don’t care if you’re busy or not. I tend to be very vocal if I’m busy. I tell people i’m in the middle of something, to come back later or to send it via an email. You have to speak up in order for people to respect your time.
Set a Routine ASAP
I am a creature of habit. Trying to add new things to my routine is a challenge, but a routine is what helps me stay on track and consistent with things at work and at home. When I take a break from things and come back – getting back to a routine is essential for success. Coming back from a break is a prime opportunity to add new things to your routine!
I try to establish a routine (whether it be my old routine or a new one) as soon as I possibly can. Creating a “schedule” for my first couple of days allows me to get back into the swing of things quicker and without the stress of not having a routine. While it seems easy – it honestly can be a challenge. Especially when you’re trying to adjust your sleep schedule (just saying from experience…you know?). But if you make a conscious effort and really try to stick to it, you can do it!
When you’re getting back to work after a break – it can be tough to get into the swing of things. But with a few solid techniques and a plan for when you get back, your transition can be much easier!
Are you looking for support during a transition in your career or your business? I can help! I’m offering Free 30 Minute Career Clarity Conversations to discuss your goals and what you hope to transition to! You can schedule a session here.