You’re looking out the window of seat 15A on the flight back home. The ocean is getting further away as your week of R&R has come to a close. It’s time to switch the margaritas back to water, since work starts at 8 a.m. sharp. As you look ahead to what is waiting for you back at the office- a flood of emails, new project updates and a week worth of catch-up, you swear the airplane just got smaller. Instead of letting the dread of what lies ahead keep you awake all night, take control of your impending return to work with a post-vacation strategy.

Keep Your Morning Routine

When you walk into the office, do you have a routine? Maybe you say hi to a few people, turn on your computer, check daily headlines and choose your first playlist for the day. Start your first day back with your routine. Nothing can ruin a day faster than completely changing your schedule. You were on vacation all week without structure, reclaim structure by keeping your morning routine.

Review Your Calendar

Any big meetings this week? Is another co-worker out of the office? Discover the big scheduled tasks for the week. Maybe you were invited to a few meeting last week and each is awaiting your response. Take a moment to look at your calendar purgatory and see what you can accept. Having a few basic guidelines for what days or time frames will be the busiest will help slowly plan the rest of the work week.

Check-In With Your Co-Workers

Talk to your co-workers. This could be in a Monday strategy meeting or just visiting a few desks around the office. See how their past week was and what has been happening around the office. If anything major has come up I bet you can find out faster through word of mouth than trying to scroll through your entire inbox.

Listen to Voicemails

Phones can be neglected with our society’s love of technology. Until a few emails have gone unanswered or a serious inquiry arises, the phone may never be considered as a form of communication. Listen to your voicemails! Take notes on who called and when just to see what responsibilities lie ahead of you.


Avoid the anxiety attack! Your emails will be read and answered, just be patient. If there are any specific topics you need to find out first search for them. Type in the sender’s name or project’s title to see what pops up. It will help find a starting point and immediately answer the top priority emails. Then you can approach your inbox by working backwards from the most recent or from the first missed email forward. Either way is effective and just depends on personal preference.

I remember a friend of mine telling me that her colleague came back from a month vacation and simply deleted ALL HER EMAILS! Not recommended, but I guess it’s one approach.

Come back to work with a post-vacation plan. Don’t just walk into the office already feeling overwhelmed. Walking in unprepared will not help you in anyway, but make you feel worse. Have a plan. Stick to it. And transition back to work with some of the fun and relaxation you rediscovered on vacation.

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