This is a guest post by Matt Knee, Founder and President of MyNewCompany, which makes starting and running a business simple, fast, and inexpensive for entrepreneurs and their advisors.
The holidays are at an end. Time to trade in the eggnog and alcohol for coffee and morning meetings. Time to get back to the normal routine…if you can.
Likely as not, it feels like you’re slogging your way through a lake of mental molasses.
You’re probably even reading this article when you should be working. Don’t worry, I’m not judging you. I completely understand where you’re coming from, actually.
No matter what industry you work in, you’re probably no stranger to post-holiday fatigue.
You just spent days – maybe even weeks – doing absolutely nothing related to work. Now you’re expected to just toss aside your relaxing, carefree routine and dive right back into your job?
That’s easier said than done.
“The vision of returning to the office after vacation and the reality usually have very little in common,” writes Kathryn Dill of Forbes. “While many of us expect to sit down at our desks after time away filled with boundless energy and restored creativity that will fuel new projects, what usually ends up happening is that we spend several scattered hours (or days) trying to process a deluge of emails and falling further behind on tasks that have built up in the interim.”
How can you avoid the post-holiday slump and ensure you don’t wind up overwhelmed with work when you return to your desk?
Make sure you have something to look forward to after your break.
A post-holiday office party, a cool challenge or project for yourself to work on. Anything that gives you something positive to focus on in lieu of the fact that you’re done relaxing.
Organize your desk (and your devices).
Spend a bit of time rearranging your papers, files and supplies. Trust me – nothing is a bigger productivity killer than needless clutter, even if you aren’t directly focused on it.
Create a to-do list.
What do you need to finish when you’re back in the office?
Decorate your office or workplace with a memento from your vacation.
A souvenir you picked up from that beachside tourist shop, or a picture of you and your family gathered around the tree at Christmas. Anything that helps you call to mind a pleasant memory when you look at it.
Tackle your email inbox the instant you get back to work.
It’s a dreadful task, I know – but imagine how much better you’ll feel when you don’t have several thousand unanswered emails hanging over your head.
Realize that, even in your absence, your company survived.
You’re important to your startup, maybe even indispensable. But your team members are team members for a reason – because you trust them to pick up the slack when you’re absent.
I’m no stranger to the post-vacation slump. Speaking from experience, following the advice laid out here helps a ton in getting your focus back. And in the future, if you plan for your return in advance of your vacation, that will help even more.