How to get back to work

One career coach shares her advice on ways to get back into the groove of work of following a long holiday

How to get back to work
The holidays are over but the euphoria of time off may be hard to shake off and career coach and founder of SixFigureStart Caroline Ceniva-Levine said there are six ways you can help yourself ease back into the groove of things.

‘Expect to be slow and plan accordingly’
Give yourself time to adjust to being back at work by taking it slow, she said at Forbes. If you need to give yourself a longer deadline, do so even if you feel you can hand in your work early. Having a buffer just means you and your colleagues won’t have to suffer through needless pressure of getting the work done in a shorter period of time.

‘Proactively hold off your chatty colleagues’
Even if you yourself are ready to jump into work, some of your workmates may still be in social, holiday mode, she said, and this is especially detrimental to your productivity in an open office.

One strategy Ceniva-Levine recommended was to come up with a standard response should other employees wish to engage you in a conversation about your break, such as, “I had a great holiday this year and would love to tell you all about it in 30 minutes (or an hour or later that afternoon) when I’ve had a chance to finish this bit of work”.

Assign time blocks during the day
If your inertia is caused by your own inability to focus and not socialising colleagues, she suggested creating time blocks 10, 15, or 25 minutes of work at a time all throughout the day.  Be serious about it and set a timer to help overcome your resistant mind.  

“You can always repeat the time block and continue working if you have some momentum,” she added.

‘Commit to easier tasks’
Take the time to do less tedious tasks such as answering emails, filing, or work on project drafts or outlines before you take on more serious tasks.

“You’re still doing work, and you’re getting your environment back in order, but you’re saving the harder thinking for when your work muscle has warmed up,” she said.

‘Confirm immediate, immovable deadlines’
Some deadlines can’t be moved or are indeed urgent, said Ceniva-Levine, so plan your time blocks accordingly. Print out a visible reminder of the looming deadline to give yourself extra motivation to get it done, she added.

‘Start early or end late’
While she acknowledged that this advice may seem counter-productive to work-life balance, she said that you may have to give yourself some leeway at the beginning of the year just until you catch up with all the things you left pending.

“It’s normal to work more slowly, even inefficiently when you’re coming back from a break,” she said.

“Trying one or more of these strategies should be enough to jumpstart you back to a more regular routine.” 

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