It’s the first workday in January. You’re back at your desk after a rough back-to-normal commute, and you may even be a wee bit hungover from New Year’s shenanigans (we don’t judge). Your office will be back to business-as-usual, which means you need to be too. Here are some ways to make that transition from Holiday You back to Everyday You with minimal stress and fuss.
1. Don’t expect to go full-throttle at 9 a.m.
Remember, many of your officemates will be in the same situation, easing back to normal after travel or down time. It’s likely that no one is interested in a 9 a.m. meeting or expects you to have everything sorted and addressed right away. Before you even get to work, think about what you want to accomplish that first day back. Pick one or two main goals for your day. If you have standard daily tasks, give yourself a little more time to do those so that you can get used to the routine again.
2. Do some triage before you dive in.
Instead of responding to emails in the order they came in while you were out, dig through your inbox first. Urgent, red-exclamation-point emails should get priority of course, but after that figure out what needs to be addressed right now versus items that can wait until later in the day (or even tomorrow). This way you’ll get some control over your day, instead of being a slave to the inbox.
3. Schedule some breaks.
Even if it’s five minutes to grab a coffee or just to take a quick walk, make sure you’ve given yourself the opportunity to take breathers. Don’t tether yourself to your desk for eight hours. If possible (and it’s not too cold), step outside for some fresh air, especially around lunchtime.
4. Bring a snack.
This might sound a little juvenile, but it’s just as valid for adults as for kids. If your workplace is anything like mine, the place has been full of candy and holiday treats for the past month. Now that the holidays are over, the office will likely go back to being a sad, candy-less place. Yet your brain and your body may have become conditioned to get treats at various points during the day, so bringing a small snack to keep at your desk can help calm those expectations of goodies. Double bonus points if you pack something healthy.
5. Try to leave on time.
Unless there’s a very specific project or reason to stay beyond your normal work hours, peace out on time—especially on the first few days back. This can help you mentally reset your routine. Plus, it sets a boundary for the upcoming year, especially if work-life balance was one of your resolutions.
The first day back can be a challenge. Remember that you’re not alone, and there are things you can do to make it easier on yourself. There’s no need to be a hero on day one. After all, it’s a long way until the next big holiday weekend! Aiming for “calm and productive” is a solid start to 2016.
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