Back to the office after a break but still feeling tired and unfocused? Here’s 7 ways to regain your work mojo after time off!
We’ve all been there: You’ve had a break from work – whether a vacation, lone weekend or a sabbatical, Your intent was to come back refreshed, yet upon your return, you don’t feel the energy or you hoped for. Here you’ll find 7 ways to regain your work mojo after time off.
Whatever your reasons for feeling anywhere from uninspired to exhausted, don’t discount the deep burnout we have from our society’s habits and trends. We know it well: social media scrolling, blue light exposure, the endless news, continued effects from Covid, and even the pressure to do all the healthy stuff we know so much about now (eating paleo/whole 30/keto/macro, getting enough sleep, mushroom coffee SO MUCH), trying to be mindful and present all through. So even if we take a vacation we can end up not feeling quite rested and walk into work with trepidation.
According to a recent Harris Poll conducted by Zapier, many leaders resonate with this sentiment, with 87% dreading aspects of returning to work. Topping the list? Settling back into routines, catching up on administrative tasks and team goals, and facing the sea of unread messages.
As leaders—from team managers to top-tier executives—we don’t just bear the weight of our own tasks but also the expectations and effectiveness of those we lead. So, how can we navigate this return transition with grace and efficiency? Here are some actionable strategies:
Prioritize Personal Well-being
Start your day a little early, giving that morning time solely to you and your own restoration. It could be a session of meditation, journaling, a refreshing workout, or simply savoring a cup of your favorite tea. When you prioritize self-care, you set a positive tone for the day ahead.
Draft a Weekly To-Do List
As you plan your week, ease into your tasks. Differentiate between the immediate necessities and those that can wait. Set only three critical tasks for Day 1, diving into at least one before you tackle emails. Repeat with your 3 top priorities as the only goal again for Day 2. Done this way, by Wednesday the mountain you felt you were facing on Monday doesn’t look so high anymore. Celebrate your progress, no matter how small.
Designate Catch-up Time
Block off periods free from meetings and commitments to catch up undisturbed, especially the first hour or so in the mornings. Turn off notifications and zero in on what needs doing. Such focused time often yields higher productivity. This is especially good to practice that can make a significant difference in how your day goes. Set your alarm to warn you 15 minutes before the time you blocked out ends so you can wrap up feeling you made solid progress.
Sync with Your Team
Once you feel grounded, organize a team or staff meeting to ensure everyone is aligned. Their support and/or knowing they are indeed on track, can provide a layer of ease and confidence you need.
Group similar tasks, such as answering emails or attending meetings, to make the most effective use of your time energy. Consider a color-coding system or other organizing methods to help you know what needs to be dealt with and what can definitely wait. When you accomplish a cluster, take a break before going back again fresh.
Reschedule Where Possible
Examine your upcoming schedule – at least in the first week or so. Ask what can be responsibly postponed or canceled without inconveniencing someone else? Then do that. You’d be amazed how even freeing up one slot can offer the breathing space you crave.
Dedicate time in the evening for relaxation as you assimilate. If life’s commitments seem too pressing, finding small ways to rejuvenate, even if it’s just a few minutes of mindful breathing in the coziest clothes, or a short evening walk, can be really effective and put you in a much better place for the next day.
Use this experience to prepare for future breaks by building in some buffer time before you return to the office. Creating a free day or two before diving back into work makes a huge difference in how grounded and prepared you feel when Monday comes around. It can be used to get your clothes or food together, or get a head start on sorting emails, planning, and setting priorities. If you don’t have this luxury each time, you can use time while waiting on line, on the plane, waiting to return a rental car, etc… using your Voice Memo or Notes app in your phone to jot down a to-do list, or begin establishing the top 3 priorities, decide what you will do first thing in the morning for YOU, and when you come home the first few nights… These will make a significant infusion of your work mojo upon your return.
In the ever-evolving dynamics of leadership, transitions, and returns can be daunting. But remember, with a blend of self-care, structured planning, and a dash of flexibility, you can find your footing more swiftly.
If these strategies resonate with you and you’re seeking guidance in creating a tailored plan for your transitions—or just need support navigating leadership challenges—reach out to me. Let’s transform your challenges into wins together.