It can be stressful returning from holiday. Whether you took the risk of going abroad or stayed in the UK, having time off brings the same challenges that have always faced returning holidaymakers – getting back into the routine.
For busy business owners a holiday can mean well deserved rest, though typically it provides time away from the business which can provoke reflective thinking time. In our experience that means that you come back to the business with a long list of things to do.
Its important that business owners do not put pressure on team members when they return. Just remember they are not as refreshed as you are, they have not had a holiday!
A couple of weeks back, I came back to work after a week’s holiday. Thankfully, the planning for before and after as to how I was going to manage my return to work paid off. The transition hasn’t been anywhere near as overwhelming as it might have been.
Whatever the reasons for having taken a break from work, here is our top tips on how you can successfully get back into a productive routine.
Get your sleep back on track
Sleep routines typically get dropped when we are not running the business. With a run of late nights and mornings, it is going to be a real struggle when the alarm goes off. So, anything you can do to get a good night’s sleep is going to help enormously. Make sure you relax before bedtime by taking a bath or shower, listening to calming music or reading a book rather than watching television. But the biggest difference you can make is to steer clear of your electronics an hour before your bedtime. Close the laptop and put the iPad and your phone away and resist the temptation to look at them. Otherwise, not only will what you‘re reading stimulate your relaxed mind, the blue light from the device will fool your brain into thinking it’s daytime. This suppresses the production of melatonin in your body – the chemical that helps you to sleep.
You have probably not been eating particularly healthily whilst off, but eating well is not just good for your waistline, it’s also good for your brain. There is more and more scientific evidence pointing towards the brain health benefits of a diet rich in vegetables, nuts, fruit and fish. A healthy diet also has the advantage of protecting against dementia later in life. So you owe it to yourself as well as your business to ditch the junk food and eat sensibly.
Get some fresh air
In your first few days back, you are more likely to be feeling tired, so get as much fresh air as you can. Make sure you take regular breaks and get outside for a walk, and if you’ve got a park nearby, so much the better. If you believe you have too much to do, there is evidence that confirms a regular break will make you more productive.
You will probably have a lot of emails to catch up with and issues that need sorting out, but don’t just dive into the nearest task in an effort to solve everything at once. Take time to prioritise your To Do list and consider time blocking your diary. Block out the time realistically so that you can let people know when they can expect you to get back to them. That way you’ll be managing their expectations in advance, and you’ll waste less time fielding calls and emails from people chasing things up. Plus, it will stop you from feeling overwhelmed.
Try to keep your first couple of days free of meetings to give you more time to catch up with your workload and to refresh your knowledge of your clients. Being fully briefed will make your meeting a lot more productive than, say, scheduling it at 9am on your first day back and having to wing it because you have forgotten a lot of the detail!
Don’t start reading your next email until you have fully finished processing your current one. If you suddenly remember something you must do, simply write it down and return back to the task in hand.
Allow time to reconnect
Getting back into managing the business isn’t just about getting stuck in. Make sure you chat with your team to find out what has been going on in your absence, and they’ll be interested in what you did during your break. So factor some time in to do just that. Arrange to have lunch with them or a virtual coffee. It will not only give you a refreshing break, enabling you to be more productive in the afternoon. But it will also allow you to chat guilt-free as you ease yourself back into your routine.
Everyone returns to the office with new goals in mind, motivated and full of good intentions to carry them out. But as soon as you’re back at your desk, it’s all too easy to become bogged down with doing things the way you’ve always done them. So make it a priority to set your goals in advance, and time block them into your diary to make sure you do them.
We have expertise from our own perspective and from helping our clients do this too. The benefit for you and your business is that you are in safe hands, as we are by your side every step of the way.