You just spent the last few days on a beach, drinking margaritas, squeezing sand between your toes and getting really tan. And now, it’s back to work. ugh.
Here are 5 Ways to Win on Your First Day Back from Vacation:
1) Actually have a vacation til the night before you go back to work.
Cut off technology and finish up all your assignments before you leave. If possible, open up the laptop on the night before you get back and check for any URGENT emails from your boss about items for the next morning. After spending 3 weeks in India around Christmas, I came back to find out I needed to head to a different client site that next morning as I had been staffed on a new consulting project while away.
2) Bring something back for the team.
It can be some Hawaiian macadamia nut chocolates, a box of maple leaf cookies from Canada, or even a team plant. It’s a small gesture that people just don’t do enough of anymore. Bring it to the team meeting or put it in the team’s common area near your desk. This way the people you care about actually get to enjoy them!
It’s a small way to say thank you to the people who may have covered for you while you were away. If one colleague went above and beyond while you were out, bring a small, but nice token gift for them as well. It is the thought that counts and it’s another way to stand out in a positive way with your team.
3) Create your action plan to get caught up.
Before I left for vacation, I would always block my calendar for the morning that I got back. I’d then get in a little early that morning with my venti hot black tea with milk and honey, take out a clean sheet printer paper and start action planning.
I’d fold the paper into quadrants. And then label each section with one of the following areas:
- MUST DO TODAY
- CAN WAIT ON
- People Follow Ups
4) Tackle that inbox… backwards.
If you’re like me, you’ll probably have hundreds of emails to go through when you get back. There’s no way you’re going to read them all – and frankly you shouldn’t.
Most of the time you were cc’d on something just to “keep you in the loop” or the critical issue from last week is now resolved and no longer urgent.
Go through your inbox sorting by urgency, time (most recent first) and then name. Look for items from your boss, senior leadership and then your team and colleagues. Write down anything that you need to take action on in one of the 4 quadrants.
If it’s urgent, add it to the “MUST DO TODAY” quadrant, but keep digging to get more info and figure out if it’s truly urgent. Keep sifting through your inbox, quickly skimming, then deleting or storing emails into folders as you go, until all your emails are out of your inbox.
Then, start tackling your list. Begin with quadrant 1 and check off items as you complete them.
5) Keep the vacay going.
Take lunch away from your desk – don’t just munch while checking your emails. Plan for some breaks too. And be sure to leave on time that day. Don’t wreck a great vacation by going into stress mode the day you get back.
One more thing: before long that gorgeous tan and mimosa memories will be start to fade, so start planning your next vacation soon!