Welcome back from a long holiday week and weekend! For most of us, Thanksgiving brought PTO over last Thursday and Friday, and a much-needed opportunity to rejuvenate and replenish enough energy to blast through the last few weeks of the year. We hope that you’re feeling a renewed sense of motivation and productivity that you’re ready to use to dive back into this work week. However, we also anticipate that most of us (like myself!) are coming back to an expansive to-do list and inbox that’s bursting at the seams.
So, how do you catch up over this week without driving yourself crazy?! Keep reading to find out everything you need to know!
Organizing Your Catch-Up Strategy
- Morning Routine: The reason why many of us feel that we’ve fallen off track after a longer break is because we lose our routine, leaving too much time for blank space or relaxation. For that reason, your Monday alarm clock may ring and cause more exhaustion than you’re used to, and that’s okay! However, we encourage you to create a routine for each morning of this week so that you can start the day feeling that you’ve checked off a few boxes and are on track to meeting your goals; remember, routines and schedules are a fantastic measure of holding yourself accountable for your responsibilities! If you’re not sure where to get started, think about your breakfast, the time you wake up, activities you can engage in before the work day starts (like meditation or exercise), drinking water, lighting a candle, updating a calendar near your office space, or otherwise setting yourself up to engage in with your work day.
- Early Wake-Ups: Building off of our above point, we know how easy it is to fall into early morning dread; after all, sometimes a 7:00 AM alarm clock feels like the middle of the night! However, in a week or so (usually a period equivalent to your break) following a holiday, it is immensely valuable to regain an hour of the day that you may regularly use for sleep. You’ll be surprised at your body’s ability to adapt to a lower quantity of sleep over temporary periods; this could be an especially great resource for catching up.
- Extra Tip: Remember always to factor in at least 7 hours of sleep to be able to maintain an attentive level of energy; and if that sounds like too much, think about opportunities where you can start your night routine or go to bed earlier to make up for ‘lost’ morning time.
- Try Out a New Atmosphere: Just as it is easy to fall out of routine when you return home, it is just as easy to become too comfortable in a setting over time. Whether this is a coffee shop, bedroom, library or classroom, study space, or even your ‘work from home’ desk, we become less focused and more comfortable in a repetitive space. For that reason, we encourage you to at least try out one new space post-break to test your productivity. Sometimes all it takes is a new atmosphere to stimulate work and motivation!
- Maintain Open Communication: With your teammates, management, and overall leadership. If you are behind on a due date, falling on a project timeline, or on track to deliver materials to someone else (that’s depending on you!) at a later date than anticipated, it’s crucial to confront those conversations ASAP. Setting expectations and an open line of communication is your key to success and being a valued, honest teammate.
- Extra Tip: Prioritize your inbox! Think about folders you can create over this next week to distinguish high-priority items from less time-sensitive tasks. Instead of attacking your emails from top to bottom, this new approach will help you keep track of projects, deals, deliverables, or other materials that teammates and leadership are waiting for. Afford yourself the flexibility of handling less important tasks throughout the week instead of trying to compile all of the built-up work into your first day back.
- Afford Yourself Grace: One last tip that might sound obvious but is crucial to sustaining energy and catching up is ensuring that you are easy on yourself! There is no reason to ever regret the time you spent with loved ones or the extra sleep you caught. It was deserved and it was enjoyable! Allow yourself breaks throughout the day to recenter your mind and elongate productivity; if stepping away from your computer for lunch or a quick walk sounds unattainable, we highly suggest that you schedule break time on your calendar as you would any other meeting.
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