When I was still a student, I found it hard to get back on track with school after the holiday break ended. Fortunately, I could also make up for late homework. But as a working professional, I no longer have that luxury — any delay or mistakes in my work caused by a a holiday hangover may end up being costly.
The good news is that with a simple strategy in place, it won’t take much effort to return to your normal productivity level. Here are a few tips:
Pre-plan your schedule. Plan your post-holiday work schedule even before the holiday reunions, celebrations and other activities take over. This is the primary reason why I easily got back to my regular workload. As soon as Jan. 3 hit, all I had to do was look at the schedule I prepared two weeks earlier to see what I needed to do. Without it, I would’ve probably spent a day or two regrouping.
Work a little during your downtime. In a previous post, Darrell talked about how he uses the holidays to work. I have to admit that I agree with him. In fact, I found myself working harder than usual for a few days. If you feel that’s being too much of a killjoy, choose to work on light tasks — perhaps checking your mail or brainstorming. The point is to avoid work being overwhelming after the holidays.
Now, this doesn’t mean you’ll get up in the middle of a family gathering and start typing away in your laptop. I waited for my family to be asleep or for the activity to die down before I started working. This allowed me to be part of the festivities, while getting some work done during times when less was happening.
Stick with your normal body clock. I know that this is easier said than done, but one of the reasons that many people feel sluggish post-holidays is that their body clocks have adjusted to a later waking-up time. If this has happened to you, make sure to try and reset your body clock back to suit your ideal sleeping hours before the regular workweek starts.
Don’t forget to relax. As Dawn recommended before, it’s important to relax. I know some people who actually spend the holidays being completely stressed out preparing gifts and celebrations. The irony is, they don’t end up enjoying their supposed “vacation time” from work. Avoid falling into that trap and catch up on your sleep.
How easy is it for you to work after a long holiday? What techniques do you use to get your productivity back to normal?