I think there are few things as frustrating as coming back from a holiday ready to take on the world the morning of your first day back … and feeling like you’ve fallen flat on your face by the afternoon.
This used to happen to me all the time (and from what you ladies have told me, I’m definitely not the only one), so this week I wanted to dig into some really practical strategies you can use to hit the ground running on your first day back from a break. Over the years I’ve developed sort of a system for reentry that’s served me really well, so see what elements of it might serve you:
Streamline while on holiday
The last thing you want to do when you’re on holiday is more work, and that’s absolutely as it should be; you need time to rest and replenish yourself! But one thing that I’ve found very helpful is to take some time, like when you’re driving from one place to the next or waiting on a flight — you know, those times when you really just need to kill time — and I go through my inbox.
Don’t get me wrong — this is NOT about engaging with those emails or working. It’s about streamlining my experience when I get back to work. Because I know that I’m probably going to get a couple of hundred emails while I’m away, but I’ll really only need to respond to about 20 or so of those.
So when I’ve got a few minutes to kill, I just go through my inbox and delete every single promotional email, and every email that just isn’t going to need a response. This means that when I come back I’m not bombarded by a full inbox; I’ve just got those couple of crucial emails from my team or my partners, plus whatever emails have trickled in in the few days since I’ve checked it.
The first day back is sacred
By which I mean, I don’t plan anything that’s going to involve other people at all on day one of reentry. No interviews, no appointments, no nothing. If you absolutely must plan something for the first day, make sure it’s at two or three in the afternoon at the very earliest. This gives you the space to really sit with your ideas and any new awareness you encountered during your holiday, and it takes the pressure off — you don’t come right back to a million people demanding your attention.
Now, I know that this isn’t going to be possible for everyone. I’m really fortunate to work from a studio in my garden, but if you work in an office you might find this a bit harder. In that case, I’d say to try sneaking into the office on the Sunday before, or a day when it’s going to be quiet, or even working from home, just for the morning. If you give yourself the gift of a few hours, you’ll be able to set yourself up to be fruitful for months.
So what do I actually do on the first day back?
I use that sacred first day to go through a process of brainstorming and prioritisation. So the first thing I go is to go into my office and use a ritual to get into my Queen energy. Then I grab a pen and paper and capture all of my holiday ideas — this is just purely about getting the ideas on paper, it’s not about prioritising or planning yet.
Once I’ve done that, I shift into a more formal brainstorming period where I look at my project list and jot down any particular tasks related to those projects that I want to make sure are happening.
Once I’ve got everything out of my head, I go into my inbox and immediately work it down to zero. Anything I can answer within a minute, I do instantly, and anything that takes longer than that gets turned into a task in my task management system. And while I’m at it, I take everything that’s in my notebook and incorporate it into my task management system as well.
Then I go through and schedule and prioritise everything. Doing this sets me up for some really fruitful meetings with my team the next day, because I’ve had time to think, organise, and prioritise all my thoughts and priorities for my business and life, so I’m able to communicate them really effectively.
Finally — and this is the tricky bit — I stop on time. It’s so tempting to overdo it as soon as you get back, but doing that will just kill all that fabulous replenished energy and tank your momentum, so make sure you don’t go into full yang energy mode and burn yourself out before you even get started.
Now I’d like to know … how do you get back into the swing of things after a break? Tell me below in the comments!
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