I bet you know this situation.
It’s Monday morning. Your alarm goes off at 6 A.M. You slept the whole night, but it feels like you haven’t slept at all. You’re still exhausted and drowsy, but make yourself get up. You get dressed, brush your teeth, grab your bag and you’re already out.
On the way to work, you buy some coffee and a snack. You look at your watch. It’s almost 8 A.M. You get to work on time. You sit down in front of your computer, in the same spot you’ve been sitting five days a week for the past year. Nothing’s changed.
It’s been just a few minutes, but your eyes are already burning from the glare of the computer screen.
People are talking everywhere and walking there and back next to your cubicle. You can’t stand it.
“Relax, it’ll soon be over. Next week, you’ll be far away from here, lying on a beach and listening to the ocean,” you console yourself.
Unfortunately, the beautiful thoughts about your next week’s vacation get instantly destroyed by your boss who appears out of nowhere and reminds you about your duties. You feel like banging your head against the wall.
You can’t focus. Eventually, you end up scrolling through Facebook and watching funny videos on YouTube until the end of the day.
You look at the clock on the wall. It’s 5 P.M. When you get home, you surf the Internet until you fall asleep.
Next morning, you wake up tired, again, and repeat the routine.
“I’m a failure,” you think.
Here’s what is going to happen next:
You waste the whole week of work, which means, you’ll have to make up for it when you get back from your vacation.
But, you don’t care. You just want to be far away from here.
The day has come. You pack your things, head to the airport and in no time, walk the streets in Florida.
You lay for hours on a beach, go sightseeing, swim in the ocean, eat delicious foods in expensive restaurants and have fun in bars until midnight. You’re in paradise.
However, soon, one week of your vacation is over. You start feeling anxious.
“Why is the time flying so fast?” you ask yourself.
You know that next week you’ll have to go back to work, to that awful cubicle, annoying people and a lot of work to do (not to mention the projects you failed to finish before your vacation).
Your mood declines. Before you notice, you’re back at home, heading to work in the morning and feeling as if you haven’t rested at all. “I need another vacation,” you think. Depressed, you try to get some work done.
If you were a robot, here’s what’s your battery would show:
15% – Need charging.
You feel terrible…
Now, the question is, is there a way to change this scenario?
How to Have a Restful Vacation?
Everyone needs a vacation at least once per year. However, not everyone knows that what you do before your vacation will impact your mood during as well as after the vacation.
Thus, if you go on vacation with the sense of achievement, you’re likely to spend a great time away, recharge your batteries and get back to work happy, satisfied and ready to face your duties.
But, if you go on vacation stressed out and having a lot of unfinished work, you’re likely to feel anxious during your vacation. You won’t rest. Next, you’ll come back home unhappy, worried and angry that you have to go back to work.
So, to have a restful vacation, you need to spend quality time in the office before you go away. Only then can you make the most of your holiday and return feeling renewed.
I know what you want to say now: it’s easier said than done. After all, how can you possibly stay motivated at work when you’re burned out and all you want to think about is that wonderful next week’s vacation?
Well, there are a few ways to make it happen:
1. Don’t put off until after vacation what can be done before vacation.
Take a moment to think about how you’re going to feel on your vacation when you know that you’ll have so much work to do when you return. You’ll feel pretty stressed out and anxious, right?
Thus, don’t go on vacation worrying that there are many things to do when you come back. Instead, finish all tasks beforehand.
Also, remember, time goes faster when you’re busy. So, instead of pondering about your fabulous vacation, get some work done.
Now, to make your last week at work more productive (and bearable), create a list of things to be done and rank them from unimportant to the most important ones. Then, pick one of the important tasks and do your best to complete it.
Did you manage? If yes, how do you feel? Quite satisfied, right?
Imagine how satisfied you’ll be at the end of the week when all the tasks are done…
Let this thought motivate you.
2. Divide your workday into several periods.
When you’re mentally and physically exhausted, it can be hard to work six or eight hours straight. A single thought of such a long workday can leave you depressed, gloomy and stressed out.
So, to prevent bad mood and work depression, split your workday into a few periods and take more breaks.
Consider: would it be easier for you to work three times for two hours or six hours straight? The answer is obvious, right? When you split your day into periods, the workday seems shorter, less scary and less overwhelming.
It becomes even more bearable when you plan ahead what you’re going to do in each period. So, take a piece of paper and plan your whole workday. For example, it can look like this:
- 8:00 – 10.00 A.M.: Answering emails.
- Lunch break. Checking social media.
- 10.30 – 12.30 A.M.: Filling in documents.
- Going for a walk and dinner break.
- 2.00 – 4.00 P.M.: Working on a project.
- Tea and chatting with colleagues.
- 4.30 – 5.30 P.M.: Editing content.
- Going home.
Now create your own unique schedule and stick to it.
3. Don’t take your work home and don’t bring your personal responsibilities to work.
Before a long vacation, your head is likely to be filled with not only thoughts about the marvelous time you’ll have away, but also about what needs to be arranged before you go. Tickets need to be bought, things packed, clothes washed, shopping done and a lot more.
Such thoughts can be distracting and thus, lower your productivity at work.
In order to be able to focus on work when you’re in the office, remember to leave all your personal errands for the evening. There’ll be time to take care of them after work, so don’t worry.
Also, ask your family members to respect your working hours and not to call you when you’re in the office. If that doesn’t work, mute your phone and put it away. You’re at work. Everything else needs to wait.
By the same token, don’t take your work home. You’ve plenty of hours to finish your tasks when you’re in the office. If you don’t manage, they have to wait till tomorrow. At home, there are other things that require your attention such as, family, house chores or hobbies.
Remember, a healthy work-life balance is the key to better productivity as well as better mood.
5 Bonus Tips for Dummies.
Whether you’re before vacation, after vacation or don’t even think about taking vacation, you can have problems with concentrating on your tasks at work. Reasons can be numerous. However, solutions are the same for each situation.
Thus, here are five bonus tips on how to focus on work when you can’t. They are simple and obvious, but can do miracles:
- Listen to peaceful and motivational music,
- Arrange your working space,
- Make the most of every break and recharge your batteries (e.g. if you’re an introvert, find a quiet place and read a chapter of a book. If you’re an extrovert, socialize with your friends),
- Play with fidget toys while working,
- Unplug every now and then, and exercise a bit.
What do you think?
If you have other tips on how to focus on work before vacation, share them with us! We’d love to know what you think.
About The Author
Emily Johnson is a content strategist at OmniPapers. She writes insightful articles about digital marketing, remote work and productivity. Her blogs about content marketing and blogging help writers improve their skills.