How to Hit the Ground Running after a Vacation

June 23, 2014


Your first day back from vacation can be tough. A huge amount of email, voicemail, and snail mail undoubtedly awaits you—to say nothing of having to play catch-up on projects old and new. Here’s how to quickly and easily get back into the swing of things when you return.

  1. Get to work early. That way, you can get yourself situated before the rest of the team arrives and things get busy. 
  2. Schedule a meeting with your manager and coworkers. Have them bring you up to speed on everything you’ve missed. Twenty minute to a half-hour should do it. 
  3. Scan your messages. Delete or toss all irrelevant e-mail, voicemails, and snail mail. See if you don’t feel a lot calmer. Prioritize whatever remains. Delegate wherever appropriate, then handle the most urgent matters.  
  4. Keep your expectations reasonable. Remember that it can take a while to get your head fully back in the game.
  5. Cancel whatever meetings you can. Attending three meetings at work and rushing to two appointments out of the office is a surefire recipe for feeling as overwhelmed and stressed out as before you left. 
  6. Don’t tackle big jobs. Do deal with pressing issues, but try to leave any really complex tasks for later in the week, when your mind is more fully engaged with your work.
  7. Add in extra time for most tasks. Even routine tasks will probably take a bit longer your first week back. Allow for things to take longer than usual. 
  8. Share vacation stories. Your coworkers will want to hear all about your time away. Share your stories and show off a few photos. This will lift your mood and help keep the fun you’ve just enjoyed fresh in your mind. 
  9. Plan something you’ll enjoy. You’re back to your regular routine and understandably, it’s a letdown. The solution? Plan new things to look forward to. Map out a future trip, a weekend away, or even a night out at a movie. This will help keep the good feelings flowing. 

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