The Labour Day weekend signals the transition from the summer / vacation mindset and serves as the clarion call to return to the office / school and the often maddening pace with programs, activities and new projects beginning! If you are like me, cranking it up after a long break can be a bit of challenge and I thought I would share a few ideas of making the first day back a little less painful!
1. Set aside some quiet time first thing - Huh? Thought we were talking about jumping back in? You bet ya! I enjoy a quiet time every morning to reflect on the day ahead and ask for grace to live well through it! I ask for grace to be patient, to be productive and to walk in a way that honours my values even when under pressure of multiple deadlines. Only 15 - 30 minutes is a great time to focus on being focused on what matters most. I also like to take 10 minutes at lunch to reflect on the morning, deal with any internal issues and prepare for the afternoon. Feeling stressed? - experts say just 3 minutes of silence - no music, phone, conversation, TV, etc. can be a good reset for the mind!
2. Eat your Wheaties! Don’t have to remind you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but more so, starting back with a healthy breakfast starts us back into a healthy routine. Many of us over the break get a little casual with our eating habits but to get back performing optimally, healthy eating habits are a must!
3. Push through the fatigue. If you are like me, long weekends are when bedtimes are ignored because, well... I can sleep the next day! But sooner or later back to the grind means we have to get up and get going even when we have burned the midnight oil. A short power nap might be just the thing to get you through the work day but be careful not to take long naps. Do your best to power though until your regular bedtime!
4. Email - Take a quick run through your emails. Be sure to use some filters (by sender, subject, etc.). It is a good idea to purge (or file) the bulk emails which are not directly related to you. With your email now considerably lighter, identify those emails that require action, those that have information you need and triage them - deal with the important ones first.
5. To do lists - How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Same with a daunting to-do list - one thing at a time! I learned a long time ago, while being cognizant of deadlines, I tackle the small, easy to do things on my list first. This allows me to shorten the list very quickly and dispel the oppressive feelings of a foreboding to-do list. Psychologically it has a big impact!
6. Communicate with the team. Most everyone understands the reality of having to dig out after a vacation! Let your team know that’s what you are doing and ask them for their patience. Most of us have been in this situation so people are empathetic and will think nothing of delaying a request until you find your desk!