Tips to Get Back to Work When You Don’t Want To

After a long relaxing holiday, it’s hard to focus on work again. If you’re feeling resistance to your normal schedule, here are six strategies to help you get back to work when you don’t want to:

Expect to be slow, and plan accordingly.

Allow yourself time to ease back into things by designing your calendar around a slower you. Add time to deadlines you promise people. Ask for more time for deadlines assigned to you.

Proactively hold off your chatty colleagues.

Even if you’re ready to get back to work, some of your colleagues will still be in social, holiday mode. If you work in an open work space, you will need strategies to proactively find your focus. Decide on a standard response to questions about your holiday that allows you to still respond but continue working.

Commit to smaller blocks of time.

If the bottleneck is not your colleagues but your own inertia, break down your work into smaller blocks than usual, and set a timer to prove to your resistant mind that you’re just going to work for 10, 15 or 25 minutes. You can always repeat the time block and continue working if you have some momentum. If you still don’t, take a stretch break.

Commit to easier tasks.

Along with smaller time commitments, start with smaller work commitments. Plow through the easier emails, filing others that need more than a few minutes of attention. You’re still doing work, and you’re getting your environment back in order, but you’re saving the harder thinking for when your work muscle has warmed up.

Start early or end late.

If your new year’s resolution is to find better work/ life balance, then don’t start the year extending your work day! But you may find it useful, even cathartic, to come in early or stay later than usual to get caught up.

It’s normal to work more slowly, even inefficiently when you’re coming back from a break. Trying one or more of these strategies should be enough to jumpstart you back to a more regular routine. However, some people come back from a break and realise they really don’t want to be back.