Taking vacation from work is a great way for you to recharge and get to enjoy some of the fruits of your labor. The only problem with taking vacation is coming back to a pile of work and a mountain of stress to accompany it. In fact, some people get so anxious about returning to work post-vacation that it virtually negates the benefits of getting that break in the first place.
If you're uneasy about returning to work after a number of days away, you're not alone. Here's how to get back into the swing of things without losing your sanity in the process.
1. Don't expect to catch up in a day
Chances are, you'll get back to work and find that there's a lot that needs to get done on your part. But that doesn't mean it all needs to get done right away. Putting that pressure on yourself is only going to make a potentially stressful situation even more nerve-wracking, so instead, accept the fact that you're going to be a bit behind for a while.
2. Assess your priorities
Some of the work you return to is apt to be more pressing than the rest of the items on your to-do list. One of the best ways to ease back into work is to assess your load and identify the items that must take priority. From there, you can focus your efforts on the important stuff to avoid falling behind where it really matters.
3. Check in with your boss
If you've been away for a number of days, it's not a bad idea to have a quick chat with your manager right away and get back up to speed. Your boss might also alert you to pressing matters that need your immediate attention, which will help you make the best use of your time.
4. Check in with your backups
Hopefully, you had one or two colleagues backing you up while you were away. Checking in with those people is just as important as checking in with your boss -- if not more so. If anything major happened in your absence, these are the people best-positioned to loop you in.
5. Plan to work late your first week back -- but not your first day
There's probably no getting around the fact that you'll need to put in some long hours your first week back on the job after a vacation. But do yourself a favor and don't burn the midnight oil your first day back. That, frankly, might be too much of a shock to your system. Rather than do that, give yourself a break so you're not totally miserable upon your return.
Escaping the daily grind is a healthy thing to do, and you have every right to use the vacation time you're entitled to. At the same time, take steps to make your return to work as easy on yourself as possible. That way, you won't end up regretting the decision to have gone away in the first place.