Tips for Curing an Office Vacation Hangover
As much as I’m “pro” taking time off from work to spend with friends and family, the day or week after a vacation can leave one wondering whether the joy of vacation is worth the pain of returning to work. Between the email backlog, the pain of readjustment, and the fight to get back into your work clothes after two weeks of eating leftover pie, candy and chocolate covered pretzels (hypothetically speaking), you feel like you need another vacation just to recover from the stress of getting back into your job routine.
If this sounds like you, then you may have an office vacation hangover. Here are a few tips (that I, too, will try) to get your work groove back:
Keep your mood upbeat with great music.
To release yourself from your morning fog, plug in some tunes. A good dose of your favorite jam will open your eyes and get your blood flowing. Be sure to be respectful of your office cubicle neighbor by making sure you are using the proper office cubicle music protocol.
Keep things simple.
Not all 200 new e-mails need to be answered today. Prioritize by sender and subject, and don’t let the numbers overwhelm you. Follow up with people who have an immediate demand, and for those who don’t, notify them with a quick email with you will soon follow up with them. If you had a project leftover from before your vacation, take care of finalizing that first. Then get to the new stuff. Create a “to-do” list. Write all of your tasks that need to be completed and just start marking off the ones with highest urgency first.
Leave work for tomorrow.
You won’t be able to catch up on everything in one day or even one week. Pace yourself appropriately so you won’t feel totally overwhelmed. For some things, you may need an extension or more time to focus on them. Don’t be afraid to indicate that you’ll need more time to complete at task appropriately. If a deadline is looming, you may have to burn the midnight oil, but if you took that last vacation day to rest, you’ll be thanking yourself.
Lastly, give yourself a break and take a day or two to ease back into work. Even if you experience a residual vacation hangover, remember that’s not necessarily a bad thing: it’s more likely to be a sign that you’ve done a really great job of unplugging from work than a sign that you’ve returned to a job you feel like quitting. Take a breath, count your blessings and get started on that list!