It’s a pain isn’t it? You’ve just had a great holiday, managed to switch off pretty well and now you’ve just walked into hundreds if not thousands of emails. There’s a todo list that’s overwhelming you and all those balls that you were juggling before your break are now rolling around on the floor waiting for you to pick them up. The stress is palpable and you wish you could be back on the beach in the Algarve or wherever you were. Let me help you, here are some things you can do to get yourself back in the mix without blowing a pressure valve!
1. Make an appointment with your email account.
The amount of email we return to after a holiday can be a really significant stressor. So here’s a good way to deal with it. Put an appointment in your calendar with your email account. Block out the time and therefore stop others booking and robbing you of that time, by adding it formally to your schedule. A smart thing here is to put that appointment in your diary before you go on holiday, so when you return you know you will have that assigned space to begin sorting your inbox.
2. Park every email that has cc’d you!
Write a rule in your email tool to move all the emails that you are cc’d in, to a separate folder. Let’s face it, if you are cc’d it’s for information not for action. So you can strip them out of your inbox into a folder where you can check them in a few days time (or even next week), once you’ve had a chance to settle back in. It will help you to focus on the things that do need your immediate attention and reduce the potential to feel overwhelmed by the shear volume of your inbox.
3. Schedule a catch up to assess priority.
Thirdly, make sure that you sit down with your boss, team, peers and get an update on what you have missed during your vacation. This is surprisingly useful for tuning you into the tasks that will be more important / urgent and require your immediate attention. If you miss out step 3, you’ve got to work that priority out for yourself. There’s only one of you, so you’ve got to make some choices about what you tackle first. Use your immediate network to speed this up and help you hit the things that really do need your attention as soon as possible.
4. Have a physical clean up.
Getting back into a good work flow is tricky when we are cluttered by lots of stuff on and around our desk. We all know how we feel better about ourselves and our world when we have had a good clean out, tidying the environment that we are in. So take some time (it probably won’t take long at all), to sort through and remove those old meeting notes, those expired piles of work etc.
Most of all, try and enjoy it! Work really is a blessing in so many ways. Most of us would be pretty lost without it. Try to hang onto to that de-stressed holiday feeling as long as you can. Close your eyes and remember what it felt like back on that beach, transfer that feeling into the current moment. Relax your shoulders and remind yourself to remove the tension from your body periodically throughout the day; especially as the demands start piling up again.