September is the time of year when our kids go back to school, schedules “normalize” and summer vacations are truly at an end. Schedules fill up and everyone braces for a more rigorous life schedule. As someone who has recently returned from a lovely long vacation I can attest to the pains of “real world re-entry”; it is never as easy as you think it will be. So here are some tips and considerations to make your re-entry back into the “real” world a little easier.
E-mail. If you haven’t looked at your in-box in a few weeks this is going to be ugly. In some cases coming back from vacation means you boot up your computer, try to remember all your passwords and then…wait. Wait for it all to load. Some people try to alleviate this concern by logging in the weekend before they are back. Don’t. Spend that weekend basking in the last rays of vacation bliss, get yourself organized to head back to work by planning meals, getting things prepared and re-committing to all those things you said you would do (or would stop doing, like working late) while you were in an objective state of mind on vacation.
Calendar. If you haven’t done so already then schedule time to triage work priorities during the first day you are back. Admittedly this is easier to put in your calendar before you leave on vacation. If you have meetings first thing in the morning of your first day back check to see if you can move them out by a day so you have time to get up-to-speed, frankly you’ll be more productive if you can take that bit of time. Seldom do we have the luxury of a day, but it is important to give yourself the time you need to get back into the game.
Body. While on vacation your body adjusted to eating when it wanted to (and likely what it wanted to) and will not be happy with the stricter schedule of meals upon return to work. Plan for this and bring snacks, at least for the first few days. It is no fun feeling overwhelmed by everything at work AND starving at 10:30 a.m. (you know, when “vacation you” usually had pancakes or omelets after sleeping in). You will also experience a level of sleep deprivation as you adjust to your work-based schedule, which for most of us means rising significantly earlier then we would while enjoying leisure time.
Mind. As you’ve read through this blog you may have nodded your head or taken note of a few things that resonated for you, and then you actually get back to work and it all quickly goes pear shaped despite your best intentions. If this happens (or if you are expecting this to happen) ask yourself if you were planning on helping others to understand how you can best help them? No one is going to walk into a meeting at 9:00 a.m. on his or her first day back and dazzle. Yes, the ebb and flow of work is relentless and will continue and of course you HAVE to go to that meeting…but what if that meeting had taken place while you were on vacation too? Work will always be relentless; the use of 4-8 work hours to allow you to re-immerse yourself in what is happening and become fully engaged in what is being asked of you is a reasonable request because it is in everyone’s best interests. So before it all gets nuts, decide how you want to go back.
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