MANILA, Philippines – Going back to the daily grind after a long holiday requires extra effort.
Do not allow the first day back at work to be a filler workday that won’t count towards improving your skills, output, and career in general. Here are a few small steps you can take to cut through the haze of holiday cheer:
1. The day before, plan. Heartbreaking, we know, but it might help to run through your list of tasks the night before you have to go to work. Imagine recovering from your holiday hangover while you’re scrutinizing those spreadsheets in the morning.
If you ease yourself in by creating your to-do list a few hours before you head to the office, you’ll feel a little more in control. For intrepid employees, you might also want to wake up at your usual “workday time” the day before you actually have to go back to work. It’s the equivalent of knocking back aspirin before you knowingly decide to get roaring drunk.
2. Identify your “on button.” The first, tiny step is often the hardest. Re-trace your routine and find that small step in your day that crosses you over from barely awake to functioning human.
Some examples are: tying your hair back in a ponytail, changing out of your pajamas, turning work email notifications back on. These are all small actions, but they signify that it’s time to hit the ground running.
3. Come earlier than everyone else. It’s easy to be late on the first day back on the job, given the unpredictable flow of traffic plus the general sluggishness that comes with first-day inertia.
Still, if you can stomach making the extra effort to arrive when the office is still quiet, there’s a smaller chance that you’ll be unproductive when you’re already in the zone by the time everyone else arrives.
4. Allow for time to talk and catch up. You’re not a robot. Seeing people back at work will prompt conversation and small talk. That’s fine, but you’ll also have to establish some verbal cues that will signal that catch-up time is over. Try, “Great catching up with you. There’s so much to do, right?”
You might also want to take a lunch break that’s slightly longer than usual, leaving you enough time to share those vacation stories. After that, get right back to work.
5. Establish your in-the-zone playlist. There’s music that makes you want to get up and party, but that’s not the kind you need right now. Go for music that’s ambient in nature, or songs with strong, even beats that you can tune out to. Turn it up while you’re working. The headphones (and the fact that you won’t immediately look up when someone calls your name) will also protect you from distraction.
6. Concentrate on tasks you can complete on your own, without input from others. Not feeling the first day back on job? You’re in the majority. The first few days of the year will also see a lot of people still on leave, so there’s a chance you won’t complete a group-oriented task in its entirety.
Try to focus on things you can achieve by yourself, like a report for your boss, filing your paperwork, or responding to the mountain of emails that have materialized over the break.
Happy work week! – Rappler.com
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