It’s the first day back after the break. There’s lots of work to do. You’re covering for a colleague. You want to catch up with everyone. It can be overwhelming, so here’s some tips on how to approach it.
Start with the smallest task possible
An inbox clean-up is a great place to start. Action any quick replies, then delete, file, flag the rest as needed. It’ll help you get back in the swing of things and build momentum to tackling the bigger and more time-consuming tasks you may have. You may want to block distractions for the first hour or so while you get up to speed and reassess priorities.
Set a steady pace
You might be filled with new energy after the break and want to smash things out, but setting unrealistic expectations could lead to feeling stressed and exhausted by the time February comes around. Hopefully you set yourself a plan in December – ensure it’s realistic after assessing anything new that’s popped up over the break.
Have a one-on-one with your manager
After you’ve taken care of your inbox and got on top of your work priorities, book a one-on-one with your manager. This will help you get clarity around your to-do list and validate how you have prioritised it. It might also uncover a couple of tasks you’d forgotten about. Setting objectives for January and the wider quarter creates a manageable workload.
Utilise flexible working where possible
A lot of us have the opportunity to work from home and some of us may find ourselves more productive at home. Don’t forget to take advantage of flexible working to help ease yourself back into the routine and complete any large chunks of work. Equally, you may feel more energised and productive by being back in the office – do whatever works best to ease you back in.
Plan something fun
December is always a very social month with Christmas parties, celebrations and festivities. January can feel like a long month with very little on the social calendar in comparison. Take advantage of the good weather (fingers crossed) and book something in with your team. Planning to grab some lunch and sit in a park can create something to look forward to.
You’ll thank yourself a few weeks into the new year that you made the effort to ease back into work and created a smooth transition for yourself.