3 Steps to Transition from Vacation to Work

DCI just returned from a week away from the office. Part of the time I was at a conference, the rest of the time I was on vacation and, for the most part, I was not checking emails. I had asked my colleagues to phone me if anything was critical. This allowed me to more fully disconnect and have the necessary restorative break that I needed.

Returning to the office, though, is never easy. Through the years, I’ve developed a few habits to make the transition easier.

Return home a day early or schedule an extra day of vacation. If you can, return home on Saturday. If not, plan to take Monday off. I find that having a full day at home is helpful for catching up on laundry, putting away suitcases, catching up on mail (both slow and email) and paying bills. I go to the grocery store and run errands. This way I start my work week with the basics covered.

Block your morning. This will give you time to make a to-do list for the week, listen to voice mails, check email and connect with colleagues. Focus on any high-priority assignments. If you don’t do this, you are likely to jump write into the fray and won’t know what has happened while you were out.

Leave on time. It’s tempting the first day or two back to put in extra hours to catch up. However, that defeats the purpose of a vacation. You want to stay rested, which makes it easier to focus on priorities and bring your A-game to the table.

Developing these habits will enable you to identify your priorities for the week and quickly get back up to speed. And hopefully, the vacation glow won’t disappear too quickly.