Vacations usually start before you even leave for them. You start imagining how the hotel will be; all the delicious food you will get to eat and how much you will get to relax and sleep in. There’s so much to look forward to.
However, there isn’t enough to look forward to once your vacation comes to an end. The thought of getting back to work, especially with the knowledge that the workload will be a lot more, can cause you to be stressed out on the last few days of your holiday. Nevertheless, avoiding these common mistakes could help to reduce the pressure.
1. Attacking emails without a strategy
There’s no denying the fact that, on your return, chronologically powering through your unread emails might be your first instinct. However, this approach might not be the most effective for two reasons. Firstly, powering through ‘all’ of them would lead to you whiling away time on emails that don’t require your immediate attention, leaving the urgent emails to be addressed as and when you reach them in the inbox. Secondly, chronologically going through emails could result in you inquiring about issues that have already been attended to by the person you left in charge.
So before diving headfirst into your inbox, deciding on a strategy will help you to be more productive. One strategy would be to sort out the most important emails based on the sender or the subject. This method would help you to prioritize and respond to emails that require a prompt reply. Next, to avoid sending unnecessary emails as a result of chronologically examining them, it would be more effective to go over them in the reverse order. Thus, you will tackle the most recent emails first. This way you will read the emails about prior issues being resolved before reaching the original email with the issue.
2. Arranging meetings on the first day
Well, we just acknowledged that you will most probably be overwhelmed by the mountain of emails in your inbox. Apart from that, you will also be catching up with your colleagues to get updated on what happened in the office. With so much on your plate already, it would be best to avoid scheduling any out-of-office meetings as these will further pressurize you to speed through tasks, heightening the risk of overlooking important details. Additionally, if you’re flying back on the day before you’re supposed to come into work, any delays in your flight could result in you having to cancel these meetings. It would be best to avoid scheduling any meetings in the first place.
3. Overworking on your first day back
It is very likely that you will feel inclined to catch up on everything on the first day itself. However, don’t forget that the work that needs to be completed was supposed to be spread over more than just one day. Even if you stayed past your regular working hours, it wouldn’t be practical or efficient to get through all that work in one sitting. To add to that, not being able to go home and unwind would make it tougher to transition from vacation mode to your regular routine, increasing the chances of you experiencing post-vacation blues. Therefore, leaving the office on time and getting a full night’s rest would help you to smoothly get through the rest of the week.
4. Not making time to recuperate
Returning from your vacation a day before work can be, both mentally and physically, exhausting. Doing so would not only make your work day seem longer, but it would also render you unproductive, or at least not let you be as productive as you would have been after recuperating a little. Thus, it would be more beneficial to give yourself a day or two at home to finish any chores or even just to adjust into the mindset of not being on a holiday. This would help to ease the transition back into your routine and make you more optimistic about work.
5. Completing tasks haphazardly
Looking at all the pending tasks can be quite overwhelming, especially when you don’t know where and how to begin. Making a to-do list in such a situation would be the best way to unclutter your mind. Once you have jotted down all the points and arranged them in an order (from most important to least), executing each task will seem easier. This method will not only make it clear as to which task needs to be done urgently, but it will also give you a sense of accomplishment every time a task is completed.