Whether you’re trudging through your first Monday back after the holidays or just swinging by the blog while enjoying your last few days of freedom, the post-holiday blues are unfortunately inevitable. While they’re always a welcome respite from the daily grind, the family time, presents, baked goods and frivolity all must eventually come to an end.
One of the toughest things to do is get back up to speed after days (or, if you’re lucky, weeks) off from work. But I can tell you one thing from experience: it’s much, much worse without some sort of plan.
Here are some simple productivity tips to overcome the post-holiday blues and get your productivity back slowly but surely:
If you’re anything like me, you’re going to come back to work to a pile of notes whose meanings you promptly forgot, a to-do list that might as well be written in Greek and a metric ton of emails to wade through. Your first priority should be to get organized. Maybe that means starting a new to-do list to help you figure out your old one, cleaning up the files on your desktop (both physical and virtual) or simply sketching out a schedule for how you’re going to tackle your first day or two back.
Whatever you do, don’t try and rush back in blind. Pace yourself, and get things in order first. You’ll be glad you did.
Few things in life fall through cracks quite like emails sent while you’re on vacation. A subject line that would have normally commanded your attention gets lost in the noise of the hundreds of other messages, marketing emails, automated reports and spam and out-of-office replies.
Getting back to Inbox Zero (if such a thing actually exists) should be one of your top priorities after vacation. Take the time to go through them all, one by one, to make sure that critical communication isn’t lost in the infinite email abyss. Heck, if your overflowing inbox seems daunting enough, you can even block out time on your calendar for it.
Extend Your OOO
One of the simplest tricks to keep you from falling too far behind is to extend your out-of-office message by an extra day. Often, merely the presence of an OOO will keep your coworkers from bugging you with low-priority messages, giving you the flexibility to get caught back up.
Keep Meetings to a Minimum
While we’re as a big a fan of meetings as anyone, it can be tough to have productive meetings while everyone is still shaking off the holiday cobwebs. An important meeting scheduled too soon after vacation can result primarily in blank stares or holiday recaps.
(Not that there’s anything wrong with sharing some holiday memories with your coworkers, but if your goal is to brainstorm or review a document, you might not be interested in fruitcake recipes.)
Rather than jumping right back into a full calendar, give everyone a few buffer days before scheduling meetings. Send a reminder email that refreshes everyone on the project at hand, and give them a few days to review before scheduling the meeting itself. This will ensure that everyone has a chance to get back up to speed and your meeting time won’t end up wasted.
While the post-holiday blues may be inevitable, post-holiday productivity loss doesn’t have to be. Keep the above tips in mind and you’ll be back at 100% in no time flat!
Visit our dedicated Productivity section for more productivity tips and tricks!