Transitioning from holiday to work mode can be tough – here’s how to hit the ground running when you return to the office.
The holiday season is winding down, and it’s time to get your head back into work mode. Hopefully you’ve had a relaxing summer, spent New Year’s Eve with friends and family, and managed to recharge. Heading back to work can be a little jarring, so we’ve put together some quick tips to make the transition smooth and ensure you have the best possible start to 2020.
The hardest thing about heading back to work is waking up in the morning. It might seem obvious, but if you’ve been having late nights and late starts, try heading to bed 30 minutes to an hour earlier for a few nights leading up to your first day back. Wind down with a book and take some time away from your phone, or try this technique to help you fall asleep faster. Make sure you set your alarm – or alarms! – to the optimum time to make waking up easy in the morning.
Everyone structures their days differently, but it’s important to have some sort of framework in place – helping to regulate when you wake, eat, exercise and so on – particularly at work. If you can get into a routine before you’re back in the office, it’ll help you transition smoothly and be productive from day one. Try planning out your day the night before and stick to a schedule – this will help fix your sleeping pattern, too. Here’s a pattern we recommend to help you get started.
It’s really important to keep your mind off work while you’re not in the office, and normally we would suggest turning off any work-related notifications while you’re at home. There’s a chance your inbox flowed over during summer, though, so to avoid any curveballs on your first day back, it’s a good idea to check your emails prior to Monday morning. There’s no need to address any until you’re back in the office, but it’ll help you prepare for any challenges you might have to deal with.
If you didn’t get a chance to tidy your workspace before the holidays, make sure it’s the first thing you do when you get back to work. Clearing your desk will help you focus on more immediate tasks, and the less distractions you have in front of you, the better. A lot of people like to spread documents and stationary around while they work, which is fine – just try to have a clean, clear workspace at the start of each day so you’re focused on what you need to achieve, instead of thinking about cleaning up a mess.
A good playlist has been shown to help with productivity, so try putting something together that will help you stay focused. Everyone responds to music differently – maybe you want to listen to something loud and energetic to rev you up in the morning, or something ambient to clear your mind and help you relax. There’s research to suggest that mid-tempo music (around 60 – 70 beats per minute) is good for productivity, along with predominantly instrumental tracks. Every listener is different though, and some people prefer no music at all. Whatever your taste, a productivity playlist is a great way to help get you back in a workplace state of mind.
Photography: Alan Weedon