5 Steps to Overcome the Back-to-Work Vacation Hangover

If you’re getting back to work from a long, glorious vacation, you might be sitting in front of your laptop like me: staring woefully at an overwhelming pile of emails and looming deadlines. Where do you even begin to start? And how do you overcome the intense urge to just make a run for it?!

Have heart, oh workers of the world, here are five ways to overcome what I like to call the vacation hangover.

1. Turn off all alerts. Turn off all notifications—email, office phone, smartphone, tablet, instant message, social media, desktop apps—that will pull your attention away from getting through the “what did I miss” pile of emails and voicemails. Only focus on your first-of-the-year priorities and cleaning up the post-vacation inbox mess.

2. Schedule out your day. Regimenting your catch-up day is vital, so block out sections of your calendar for each task. You also need to schedule down time for yourself, be it an hour lunch to catch-up with colleagues, social media time or web surfing. A little constructive space-out time will do a world if good for your productivity.

  • Here’s how I managed my first day back:


3. Prioritize VIPs. We all have a list of people in our work world that need immediate attention, from bosses to customers. Write down their names, sort your email inbox and then hammer out responses.

4. Move the ball. Frustration is the primary cause of vacation hangover, because it feels like you’re stuck in a catch-up rut. To overcome the bleakness, schedule time to advance the ball—a project, an idea, data mining, prospecting, or something—so you’re starting your year off right.

5. Choose email freedom. I know your inbox is overwhelming, but sometimes the best response to multiple emails from one person is to just give them a call to catch-up or schedule a quick web conference. That way, you prioritize their requests, save yourself from productivity-sucking, multi-email responses and move all of those emails out of your inbox in one swift motion.

How do you manage the post-vacation hangover at work? Any tips to share? Check out the “Productivity at Work” section on our sister website, PGi Learning Space, for more tips and work hacks.

About Blakely T.

Blakely is a work-life juggler with three little monsters, Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book-a-holic, Atlanta transplant and PR/social/content strategist (and presentations nerd) for PGi.

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