The week following a 3 day weekend is hard to getting back into the swing of things. So let’s consider today’s blog warm up.
How to Get Back Into Work or Study Mode After a Long Break
Coming back to work or school after an unusual
break—whether it’s just been three days or, lucky you, an entire
summer—can be brutal. No more open-ended days. No more sleeping in.
Here’s how to avoid too much shock and ease back into productivity mode.
1. Start Your Day Right: Well-Rested and with a Good Breakfast
Whatever your habits were over the vacation, the first day back will
be a lot less stressful if you’ve gotten a good night’s sleep and have
prepared everything you need the next morning so you’re not rushing and
can actually get something to eat. Worse comes to worst, you can make an egg in a mug in a minute, miso soup and eggs for a hangover remedy, or shake up some oatmeal in a jar.
Get some stretching and other exercise in if you can. It’s time to wake up and get back in the game!
(Even if it’s too late and you’re already back at work or school,
start setting up your routine for consistent sleep, healthy breakfasts,
and exercise over this week and for the rest of the year to get back
into the swing of things. Maybe just upgrading your wakeup routine by programming your coffeemaker and setting a great song on your music alarm will get you moving.)
2. Get Started Early or Carve Out Some Alone Time
I always found it overwhelming to have tasks thrown at me the minute I
walked in the door at work, especially so after a long break. If you
empathize with this, try to get to work or campus a little early so you
can get situated before you’re bombarded by coworkers, managers, or
classmates, and before you have to dive right in to your classes or that
What to do when you get to work and you’ve got a long task list and
debriefing waiting for you before you’ve even taken your coat off? Just
ask the person if you can have a few minutes to put your stuff away and
take that time to get settled.
For students, try to get the lay of the land before you head to your first class.
3. Plan Your Day and Week
If you’ve got a few precious extra minutes of your day to yourself,
use it to get organized and prioritize your tasks. Choose the most
essential things you need to do and put them on your list, and schedule
less urgent ones throughout the week. If you can delegate tasks, all the
For school success, creating a study plan and routine at the start of
the semester is crucial. Use a planner or online calendar like Google
Calendar not just to schedule all your classes, but also carve out your
study times and project due dates, referring to your course handouts.
This organizing part can get you back into the work or studying
mindset and even get you excited for the rest of the week or year.
4. Start with Small Stuff You Can Check Off
If you’re still feeling like you’re only there in body, get a jump
start by tackling just one small task. First have a list of tasks you
want to accomplish for the day (see step 3), and make sure there’s an
easy (but still important) task on there at the top. Something as simple
yet critical as following up with a contact on something discussed
before the break works. There’s nothing as invigorating as checking
something off your list.
For students, your small tasks at the start of the year may be just
to get oriented. Attend your first classes. Read the syllabi. Make sure
you’ve got all the supplies and books you need (or make the notes and
preparations to get them). You’re off to a good start.
*And on a side note checking in with you Insurance Agent about reviewing any of your policies is always a great thing to “Check Off”
5. Tackle Email by Importance
If there’s one thing that will kill your vacation mindset, it’s looking at your email backlog, which can be overwhelming. Automatically deleting all email while on vacation is an extreme measure for this common problem, but there are many other ways to handle vacation emails.
To get out of catching-up mode, you’ll want to make quick work of
these emails. Set up filters for your email by sender and/or subjects to
make sure you’re not missing any important emails (Gmail’s Priority
Inbox filtering does a good job of identifying these for you). A quick
scan of the remaining emails usually will be enough to help you delete
the bulk email and then process the rest of the emails chronologically
or by conversation or other sorting criteria. Just feeling like your
emails are manageable and you’ve got a system for getting through them
will make the transition back to work a lot easier.
6. Leaving Early and Other Tactics
Most schools start their semesters in the middle of the week to ease
into the year, with shorter days in some cases. If you have flex time at
work, taking a few afternoons off when you come back from vacation is a
tactic we’ve noted before for getting back into work mode.
Getting back to organized
may best be done by getting back into a routine and taking those simple
single steps that will put you in the right mindset again.