Vacation Rehab

We’ve all been there — that awkward, sometimes worse-than-awkward transition from vacation mode back into work mode. The unanswered emails. The unanswered voicemails. The unanswered questions that only you can answer. The unfinished tasks. The unfinished — well, you get the idea. Sometimes it can be enough to make you wish you’d never even gone away.

You don’t need to let the stress overwhelm you, though. You need a strategy that will help you ease back into work mode without driving you insane.

Forbes contributor Anne Sugar has a few suggestions for you:

  • The emails can wait. Don’t answer email when you’re supposed to be away, even if you’re just checking email on Sunday night before returning to work on Monday to get a jump on the coming week. “When you practice refraining from answering email on the weekend, you’re modeling healthy boundaries and work-life balance for your team members,” Sugar wrote on in September.
  • No meetings the first day back. Tackle email first as a way of catching up, then prioritize what needs to be addressed quickly — and schedule those meetings for Tuesday. “Save the first day back for thinking time as you decide where to prioritize your attention,” Sugar wrote.
  • Continue to delegate. Resist the urge to take over projects you’ve delegated. Simply let those team members continue the work they’ve started.
  • Understand that things will be messy. “Accept this and don’t fight the inevitable,” she wrote. “Rather, try to stay in the positive headspace your vacation (hopefully) generated.”
  • Put your well-being first. Even though things may seem hectic at the office, allow time for those non-work activities that make you happy, whether it’s a weekly pickleball match or a standing dinner with friends. “Allowing for nonwork activities enables you to think creatively and avoid burnout,” Sugar wrote. “You can be your best for longer.”
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