How to Get Back Into the Work Mindset After the Holidays

How to Get Back Into the Work Mindset After the Holidays
Explore this Article
Before You Leave
Upon Your Return
Celebrating Work Life Balance
Tips and Warnings
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Back to work after a holiday and feeling super glum? It's not at all unusual--holidays give you a glimpse of life outside of the cubicle, including directing your own life at your pace and doing things that involve more than the shuffle of paperwork and deadlines. It can be hard to overcome the sense of loss after a holiday break and reorient your mindset to focusing on work but it is possible with a little help from wikiHow.

Part 1 of 3:
Before You Leave

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Image titled File Step 3
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1
Prepare before the holidays. That's right, even before you go on the holiday, leave your workplace in good condition. Finish outstanding tasks, ensure that all papers are filed properly and that anything still not done is either delegated to colleagues or communicated as "on hold" to the persons involved. Doing this makes returning less painful, as you have a fairly clean slate and you don't have to think too much about where everything is at but can just get stuck back into it with ease.
Image titled Delegate Step 3
Image titled Delegate Step 3
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2
Delegate important issues that might blow up in your absence. If there are things that might cause clients, colleagues, bosses or anyone else to worry or wonder about in your absence, it's a good idea to highlight these before you leave and bring them to the attention of the right person to take care of in your absence. Make sure that the right person to handle the issues if they arise is capable of doing so and has access to necessary information and materials. This will not only ensure that things run smoothly while you're away but helps ensure too that your return is not filled with the pain of massive blowups because nobody knew what was happening.
Image titled Make a To Do List Step 1
Image titled Make a To Do List Step 1
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3
Make a list of what you need to get stuck into upon your return. This list is intended to direct your attention to what to get started on when you're back, saving you the bother of having to remember everything and figure this out for yourself when you're back. Make it clear, direct your attention to the relevant information/files/tasks/activities, etc. needing to be done. You might think it silly at the time you make it but holiday-brain can make you very fuzzy when you're first back and this list will redirect your focus quickly and painlessly.
Image titled Delegate Step 8
Image titled Delegate Step 8
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4
Schedule a back-to-work meeting with your supervisor. Doing it now ensures his or her availability on the first day back. This meeting is intended to be a quick overview meeting to bring you up to speed on what has happened while you were away.
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Part 2 of 3:
Upon Your Return

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Image titled Organize Your Desk Step 2
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1
Clean your desk and surrounding area. Hopefully you managed to go on holiday without leaving behind massive piles of paper but if not, the first hour or so can be productively spent tackling such piles. However, even sprucing up your desk with a good spray, dust and wipe can feel like a mental and physical "clean slate" restart to your work that gets you energized to tackle actual work.
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Image titled Have Fun While Studying Step 17
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2
Check your list made before you left. Use this to launch yourself back into work activity in a directed and purposeful fashion. As well, it's a good idea to make a new priorities list based both off your pre-holiday checklist and the new items in your in-box since arriving back. Go through the things that are awaiting your attention and sort them into urgent, not-so-pressing and can-wait piles. This way, you can be assured that anything urgent is attended to quickly, even though you're feeling abstract and a bit mentally absent due to having been away for a bit. A list of to-dos will keep you focused and on task.
Image titled Delegate Step 5
Image titled Delegate Step 5
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3
Have the pre-scheduled meeting with your supervisor to get up to speed. If you forgot to make this meeting or your supervisor made other arrangements, organize this meeting as quickly as possible. The sooner you're updated on what happened while you were away, the better. Ask colleagues, clients, etc., as to what has happened in your absence too, as appropriate. If you're lucky, your coworkers will appreciate the opportunity to have a quick fill-in on what you did while you were away, helping you to ease back in with some fun memory stories.
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Image titled Motivate Yourself Step 10
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4
Set aside some easy tasks to work on first. It's a lot easier to get back into the work spirit when you have some small victories first and get a few easy tasks out of the way. This might be something like checking your email in-box and sorting everything into priorities to be worked on later, catching up with colleagues on what's happened while you're away or finalizing some easy paperwork you left at the top of the pile before leaving. With these small victories behind you, the work spirit should be starting to flow through your veins again.
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Part 3 of 3:
Celebrating Work Life Balance

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Image titled Make a Travel Brochure Step 14
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1
Take some photos of your holiday into work. Instead of separating the holiday part of your life from your work life, combine them. Memories of trips away, time spent with family and friends, great celebratory events, etc., can be a morale boost in the workplace. Pin pictures, postcards or photos on the wall or in a framed work for the desk (keep it portable if you're hot desking) or have some images on your phone to check now and then.
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Image titled Be Friends with Someone Who Is the Complete Opposite of You Step 3
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2
Offer to host a coffee morning for colleagues some time during the first week back. Set a theme revolving around what you did and suggest that everyone come prepared to share their favorite holiday memories for a bit of a different conversation. With your own memories so fresh, you can begin the event and encourage others to talk about past holidays or future plans for their next ones.
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Image titled Have a More Exciting Lunch Hour Step 1
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3
Take a longer lunch than you'd usually do for the first day back. This is your easing-in day, and you might like to use the extra ten to thirty minutes to get outdoors and walk around or perhaps to grab those necessities like transport card top-ups, fresh bread or missing items that didn't get restocked while you were away. Enjoy the sights and sounds around you, using your holiday-mind alertness to rediscover things of interest in your usually ordinary work world surrounds.
Image titled Travel Overseas by Oneself Step 1
Image titled Travel Overseas by Oneself Step 1
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4
Plan your next holidays . Work isn't everything, even though it's a big part of life. Spend some time dreaming up what you'll do for the next holiday to set your mind at ease about the feelings of loss over the holiday just ended. See the work-holiday-life flow as a continuum rather than an end.
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Image titled Ways to Get Better at Estimate Time for Tasks Step 4
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5
Be kind to yourself . Day one back at work is going to feel odd and a little surreal. It takes time to put back on the work face and get stuck back into the swing of things. That's fine, everyone has been there and it's normal. Cut yourself some slack on day one, knowing the it's the "getting-back-into-the-flow-of-things" day and that day two will probably be surprisingly mundane and back-to-normal for you!
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