The holiday season is coming to an end. This is a rough time when you have to exchange your vacation shorts for a pair of jeans, a comfortable deckchair for an office chair and the view of an endless blue ocean is only on your computer screen. How to switch to work mode in the least painful way? Grab a cup of coffee and read our tips!
Work smart, not hard!
Spend the last days of work on something manageable, something you’ll be able to finish before you go for well-deserved rest. Try to find a really small task that you’ve never had time for. It helps you stay productive without putting yourself in a stressful situation where you have to finish an assignment when your plane is already waiting for you. If you take on a big task, you might not finish it. Bear in mind you’ll have to do it anyway, most likely just after your return, when you’ll have a vague recollection of where you left off and what you managed to do. Unfortunately, sometimes you are up to your neck with work and all of your tasks are huge. Then what? The answer is pretty simple – leave a note for yourself in which you describe your train of thoughts, what you have done up to this point and what is still left. I’m sure it will help ‘future you’ organize your thoughts and get to work faster.
Think about coming back in advance
When your boss accepted your holiday request, you most likely started booking hotels and tickets right away. Preoccupied with planning activities and packing your luggage, you didn’t think about the first day of work after your return, did you? It is very important to plan it before you leave – you don’t want to get back to your office early on Monday morning when you arrived around midnight on Sunday. Life hack – take an additional day off! You’ll have more time to unpack and jump into your work routine. It could be a Monday, it could be a Wednesday (2 days of work, 1 off and 2 working days – it’s my personal favorite scheme ?) – pick one that suits you the most. Starting a work week on Monday a nightmare for you? Start on Friday! Returning to the daily grind might feel like a slap in the face, but still, you’ll have a whole weekend to shake it off.
Getting back to reality
With your holiday over, how can you get back into your work routine? The hard truth is your first day may not be easy. Tons of unread messages and emails waiting for your attention may make you feel overwhelmed. What you can do to mitigate it? There are some tips!
Get caught up
Speak with your team about what was happening while you were gone. What are the current priorities? What needs your attention first? With that knowledge, you can skip emails about already resolved problems. Take some time to plan your day.
Create a to-do list. Thanks to this, you don’t need to constantly think about what still needs to be tackled, giving you time to focus on your current task. To be even more focused, manage your time. Have you heard about the Pomodoro Technique? It uses a timer to break work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. Before each interval, you decide on the task you will work on.
Take it easy
Don’t force yourself to do too much, too fast. Do not demand 100% productivity on your first day. You need some buffer time to get into work routine. Whether you want it or not, most of our day will be spent reading emails and responding to messages. If possible, try not to schedule any new meetings, especially they needs a lot of preparation it.
Remember, everyone feels the same way when returning to work after a vacation. Whatever you do, your first day will be a little demanding, but just because you were on vacation doesn’t mean you have to put in more hours at work. Don’t be a hero, leave the office like you normally do.
Of course, vacations should not just be for the summertime, as a winter break can be equally relaxing. In a perfect world, you would work for a company that combines employment with enjoyment, which is exactly what Software Mind delivers with its work n’ enjoy program. Work n’ enjoy gives Software Minders the opportunity to take their work abroad to locations like Croatia and Tenerife. Want to work for a company that really cares about providing a healthy work-life balance? Check out the latest opportunities on our career page.
About the authorKatarzyna Gralczyk
Senior Software Engineer
A Software Engineer with almost 6 years’ commercial experience, Kasia focuses mainly on web development. A Medical physics graduate, Kasia decided to shift into software development and mainly focuses on Java and other backend technologies, though she’s not afraid of facing frontend issues in React. She is experienced working in a multicultural environment.