Let’s Chat… Catch-up after PTO

Welcome back, everyone! We hope you had a relaxing weekend and, if you’re like me, indulged in PTO at the tail-end of last week. As I am in the mindset of catching up on Friday’s tasks, I thought it would be a perfect time to engage you all in the strategies that I follow when work piles up. Even for those of you who logged on to view a surprising influx of tasks and to-do items that came in over the weekend, the below will help you tackle the day item by item. Keep reading to find out how to best catch up on work while still maintaining balance and boundaries!

Getting Back on Track:

  • Routines: Above anything else, setting a routine that you can rely on to play catch-up will help you stay organized, timely, and productive. Whether this means eating breakfast, exercising, time-blocking your schedule, or scheduling touch-base meetings, any organizational tactic will prove to benefit you in the long run. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the ambiguous concept of ‘becoming organized’, take the following tip for example: what types of emails do you receive? Do you have a mental prioritization strategy? If there are urgent items that require attention, either ‘flag’ them for review or create an ‘urgent’ folder to differentiate what can wait and what can not. If you’d prefer for your priority items to remain front and center, think about creating an email folder for ‘follow-ups’, ‘non-urgent tasks’, or even ‘Tuesday items’ if you don’t think you can get to every task in one day! Differentiating the mass of emails that fill your inbox is guaranteed to help you create priorities and organize your to-do list instead of letting it pile up and become overwhelming in one place.
  • Early Wake-Ups: We know this isn’t everyone’s ideal plan, and many of us dread that 7:00 AM wake-up call. However, during the week following time off or a holiday, affording yourself an extra few hours of the day will prove immensely valuable to your schedule. You’ll be surprised at your body’s ability to work hard and function on a slightly lower quantity of sleep; this could be an especially great resource for catching up. We encourage you to maintain the recommended 7-hour minimum of sleep but to also consider getting up, achieving morning movement or mindfulness, replenishing your body with breakfast (and/or coffee) ahead of logging on, and otherwise gaining momentum ahead of the start of the work day. Doing so will help you plug in mentally and physically, and sustain that level of energy throughout the entire day.
  • New Atmosphere: Sometimes all it takes is a new atmosphere to stimulate work and motivation! We all know the feeling of dread when our workflow becomes too repetitive: our alarms start to slack back several minutes, we lug ourselves out of bed only to log onto a computer and sit at a work desk a few feet away, and the environment feels stale. If this sounds like you, consider both your home and your community! Do you have a nearby cafe, coffee shop, lounge, library, classroom, or other type of resource that replicates an office setting? Is there a different room in your home you can relocate to? Finding new spots, new lighting, new smells, and a sense of refreshment is a fantastic way to stimulate productivity this week.
  • Go Easy on Yourself: One last tip… always be easy on yourself after a break! After all, we work to live – not the other way around! Your PTO is well-deserved and should be thoroughly enjoyed in order to sustain a work-life balance and fulfilled lifestyle. Ensure that you find pockets of breaks for your mental health throughout the day, and maintain your work boundaries. Especially for those of you not compensated for overtime, logging off at an appropriate hour in order to recharge after work and obtain enough sleep to tackle the next day is crucial to long-term sustainability and success.

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