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  • Writer's pictureMacalister Bali

Six Ways To Get Back Into The Groove After The Holidays

Updated: Jan 31, 2019

The holiday period was amazing. You had fun with friends and family and you lost track of time because you had all the time in the world to enjoy yourself. However, it is time to go back to work and contribute to the growth of the society as well as your own personal growth. Going back to work can be a challenge after a restful or fun-filled holiday season.

Here are six strategies to help you get back to work when you don’t want to:

Match work to your natural rhythms. Try to coordinate challenging tasks with the times you are likely to be at your best. If you’re a morning person, for example, don’t start by going through your emails. Instead, tackle that big thought piece and leave the emails for when you’re in a slump. If you have a regular meeting that’s always a bit flat, hold it at a different time of day. If your boss seems on their best form in the afternoon, approach them with your ideas then.

Proactively hold off your chatty colleagues.

Even if you’re ready to get back to work, some of your colleagues will still be in social, holiday mode. If you work in an open work space, you will need strategies to proactively find your focus. One way is to decide in advance how you will handle the inevitable colleague interruptions. Decide on a standard response to questions about your holiday that allows you to still respond but continue working – for example, I had a great holiday this year and would love to tell you all about it in 30 minutes (or an hour or later that afternoon) when I’ve had a chance to finish this bit of work.

Step away from the smartphone. If you’re angry or upset at work, do not make any calls or write any emails, at all, to anyone. An emotional email or call will only cause you more repair work further down the line when you have to apologies or rebuild a broken relationship. Leave the work environment, do something you enjoy for an hour, and wait until you are totally calm before acting. If you can, leave things overnight. If you have to respond there and then, keep things factual. Report only on what you’ve seen and own your emotions.

Confirm immediate, immovable deadlines.

One critical item for your small-time-block/ small-task work period is to confirm any immovable deadlines in the next one to four weeks. You need to know exactly how much latitude you have to ease back into work, if at all. Post the key deadlines and deliverables where they are very visible (e.g., large print posted on your monitor). If you’re not fully in work mode yet, you’ll easily forget. Plan backward to get these done  you still may be able to use smaller time blocks and start with easy items first to get the work done.

Commit to easier tasks.

Along with smaller time commitments, start with smaller work commitments. Plow through the easier emails, filing others that need more than a few minutes of attention. Work on a draft or outline of something, and make filling in the pieces a separate work block. Return phone calls, collect status updates, or review notices that came in while you were gone. You’re still doing work, and you’re getting your environment back in order, but you’re saving the harder thinking for when your work muscle has warmed up.

Edit every email, cutting its length by at least 50 per cent. Writing a shorter email means that the receiver is more likely to read it, make a quick decision, and write a shorter reply, which in turn saves you time. But what you write is also important. More often than not, we write what we want to say rather than what will get people to think, feel and do the things we want them to. Stick to the facts, keep things simple and, if there’s a request, make it clear.

It’s normal to work more slowly, even inefficiently when you’re coming back from a break. Trying one or more of these strategies should be enough to jumpstart you back to a more regular routine.

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