After the holidays, there are two ways that you can return to work: extremely overjoyed and excited to share about your celebrations or unrested, dreading leaving the couch, and uninspired to jump back in.
Unfortunately, the latter is often more prevalent than the former on the final days of holiday vacation. However, it’s essential to find ways to feel productive and return to a successful workflow.
The Post-Holiday Slump
Going through a post-holiday slump isn’t always related to returning to work. Nearly everyone experiences a loss of productivity and excitement for a variety of reasons.
“Extra stress, unrealistic expectations, or even sentimental memories that accompany the season can be a catalyst for the holiday blues,” writes Luna Greenstein, Senior Content Manager at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
When you’re at home and not working, this loss of productivity might not feel as impactful. When these feelings begin to make finishing your work or feeling motivated to complete tasks difficult, you might need to reassess and search for solutions.
Getting Back Into a Flow
Motivation is needed to get back to work after the holidays. There have to be several positive factors that are propelling you forward and getting you through the first few days.
“Getting into the right mindset even before stepping into the workplace can help you to ease back into the job. No matter how much there is to do, that first day back can feel a lot less productive than you’d like it to,” says Justin Soleimani, Co-Founder of Tumble.
The first day back can set the tone for the rest of the week so you want to give yourself the best shot. Luckily, to get into this positive mindset, there are tips and tricks you can try to give you a headstart!
1. Keep the Day Before Open
Try not to do much or stress out the day before you head back to work. You need to give yourself a buffer day to mentally prepare for going back into the office. Having one day of rest before you start back with your routine can help you clear your mind and set your intentions.
“Instead of spending the day before going back to work running around in preparation, employees should be encouraged to spend the day doing their favorite relaxing activity, order some food or cook themselves a nice meal, and prepare for an early morning,” shares Marcus Hutsen, Business Development Manager of Patriot Coolers. “Most people come back quite well-rested and a bit more cheery!”
Running around trying to do post-holiday tasks can add a surprising amount of stress. Don’t let the day before you go back be anxiety-inducing. Instead, get a good night’s sleep before you’re back in the grind.
2. Stay With a Routine
Jumping right back into a routine can help your mind stay focused throughout the day. Knowing what to expect as the day progresses and trying to maintain some semblance of normalcy can motivate you to stay productive.
“Recalling old habits helps to reestablish what a day in the life’ looks like. Everyone messes up their routine sometimes, but getting back to your pre-holiday schedule can ease you into the workday,” explains Anthony Tivnan, President and Co-Founder of Magellan Jets, a company with on-demand private jet charter flights.
If you’re used to making a coffee when you first come in, don’t skip that just because there is work to be done. Make your coffee, take in your surroundings, and start up your natural routine.
3. Reorganize Your Space
When you first get into the office, it might not feel like you’re in your space. Don’t just try to jump into your first task; take time to reorganize your space until it feels normal again.
“Refamiliarizing yourself with your surroundings can make getting back to work easier. You don’t take as long to reacclimate when you can access tools and equipment easily,” says Lioran Pinchevski, Founder and CEO of Finaloop, an e-commerce accounting software for DTC, multi-channel, and wholesale brands.
Once you’ve settled in, know where everything you need is, and have gotten comfortable, diving into work isn’t as stressful. Once your mind feels at ease, you can perform much more efficiently.
4. Start With Your Emails
Your inbox has likely been filling up with unread messages while away. Putting your emails at the top of your list will help you to prioritize your to-do list later.
“Delete whatever is junk, star what seems important, and move messages into their respective folders. Organizing may help that first day feel less stressful,” explains Cody Candee, Founder and CEO of Bounce.
When our inbox begins to overflow and we can’t find the email we’re looking for, we often start to feel behind and overwhelmed. Spend the morning drinking your coffee and catching up on messages that you’ve missed.
5. Come Up With a To-Do List
Once you’ve organized your email, it’s time to start prioritizing what work to start with first. Creating a to-do list can help you to stay focused, which keeps you motivated.
“There is some sort of exciting satisfaction that comes with checking off an item on your to-do list. Making to-do lists based on importance gives you a clear idea of how your time is best spent,” shares Sara Alshamsi, Founder and CEO of Big Heart Toys.
It may seem minimal, but having a prioritized list will keep you organized throughout the first few days back after the holidays.
6. Ensure You Have a Healthy Lunch
This next tip may not seem as important to some, but nutritious meals can do wonders when motivation is low. Nibbling on protein or having your favorite healthy snack can easily boost your energy throughout the day.
“Packing a full lunch the night before heading back to work will ensure that you stay upbeat and active. Your energy may be naturally low coming back from a holiday, but food can always cheer you up!” exclaims Leroy Hite, Founder and CEO of Cutting Edge Firewood a brand that sells specialty firewood.
Eating good sugars, drinking water throughout the day, and having enough protein will help your body to function properly, which is essential on the first day back. Instead of overworking your body, make sure you care for it!
7. Catch Up With Co-Workers
Everyone coming back from the holidays is going to have something to share and want to catch up with their friends at work. It’s completely normal to connect with your colleagues and spend part of your day engaging in social interactions.
“Prosocial motivation is an important driver behind many individual and collective accomplishments at work,” writes Beata Souders, MSc., PsyD candidate.
Sharing with each other and seeing people that you like at work is a key factor in motivation and productivity. After visiting with a friend down the hall, you can feel reenergized and even inspired when getting back to your work.
8. Partake in Productivity Habits
Your entire work day shouldn’t be spent sitting at your desk or doing one task. You need to diversify your day to stay motivated. Productivity habits are the tasks that you do outside of work to keep your mind clear and your body feeling good.
“Go outside for a walk halfway through the day or take a 15-minute break to make tea after a long meeting. Whatever you need to do to give yourself some time to recompose yourself, do it, and see how it changes the rest of your day,” explains Max Baecker, President of American Hartford Gold, a company that allows you to diversify your retirement with a Gold IRA.
Exercise, joining clubs, attending networking events, or participating in town hall-style meetings are parts of your job for a reason! Especially after the holidays, spending more time readjusting and assimilating back into a work-life culture can increase productivity.
9. Schedule Check-ins
There might be specific people that you need to talk with once you get back to work, so be sure to schedule check-in meetings with them on the first day back. Update these people with what your tasks are and re-familiarize yourself with what roles you will play in their workflow.
“You’re not alone at work. There are other people who count on you once you get back, so you don’t want to leave them hanging for long. Remembering where you left off and discussing tasks that need to be completed will help you refocus,” says Maggie Brown, Founder and CEO of Recess Pickleball.
Touching base with your coworkers gets you back into the swing of things and can also help you when prioritizing your own workflow.
10. Pace Yourself
Even though you might want to get everything done as soon as possible, there really is no rush. Unless there are quickly approaching due dates, don’t rush yourself and do a less-than-ideal job.
“No matter how many tasks you have to catch up on, your time and effort are valuable. Work that you’ve rushed is just work that you’ll have to do again, so take your time and stay on top of communication,” explains Maegan Griffin, Founder, CEO and nurse practitioner at Skin Pharm.
When you have a clear head and prioritize your tasks, you will be more productive throughout your day. Work will get done, but the quality of it depends on the effort you’ve put into it.
Inspire Productivity in Yourself
The post-holiday loss of productivity can be real but there are so many ways to combat losing interest. You’ve had the time to rest and the best thing you can do is jump right back into it.
Try to find things that motivate you and incorporate them into your workflow. You’ll begin to feel more accomplished as you stay with your routine and learn how to m