Five Tips to Plug Back Into Work After a Vacation

Last month, we drove 20 hours to Santa Fe, New Mexico as part of our family vacation.  On the way home, my wife snapped this picture of the beautiful New Mexico sunrise.  It was a peaceful moment amid the soft little snores of children in the back of the van.

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And while most people would enjoy that scenery, my mind raced with questions resulting from being away from the office for so long (… a whole week…).  What about all the missed phone calls?  What about the documents that needed reviewing?  What about the articles that needed to be written?  What about the . . . ?

Plug Back In.

If you are one of those people who can easily turn on and off their working mind, then you probably need to read no further.  But if you need some help plugging back into work after a vacation, here are a few ideas:

  1. Plan a “transition” day before your “work” day.  If you have to be back to work on Monday, then do whatever is possible to schedule a day between your end of travel and your return to work.  This will allow you to unpack and unwind.  This will allow you some downtime as you “recover” from your vacation before you start back at the office.
  2. Map out your “work” day during your “transition” day.  After you had time to recover from your travel demands, find a quiet corner in the house and plan what you are going to do when you return to the office.  Pick a time when you will go into the office, pick out your clothes, and pack your beans and rice if you are on the Dave Ramsey lunch protocol.  Don’t waste time on your first day back at work getting “ready” when you can do so on your “transition” day.
  3. Start your “return to work” earlier than usual.  Set you alarm a couple hours earlier on the first day back.  Beat your co-workers into the office, which will allow you to acclimate to the work environment.  Don’t jump into the piles of work just yet, but plan how your day is going to transpire.
  4. Meet the team with smiles.  Whether your team consists of just you and one assistant or a larger group of people, set aside water cooler time or chat time.  Use one window of time to talk about your vacation.  And then return to your office and shut the door.
  5. Mark you exit time.  Can that be right on your first day back?  Yes.  Unless absolutely necessary due to a deadline, you don’t need to work until midnight on your first day back.  If you set a deadline for leaving the office, it will give something to look forward to during the day.

The first day back after a vacation is often the hardest. If you are like me, these are all great “ideas” for returning to work. But if we want to find that proper work-life balance, then we should try them out.

What do you do to plug back into work after a vacation?

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