7 Tips to Jump-start Your Work After A Break

Many of us are back to work after this holiday weekend.  (Here in the U.S.)

How long does it take your productivity to get back up-to-speed?

A few hours?  A few days?

Here are some quick tips to accelerate your productivity back to where it needs to be:

Get Ahead of Your Calendar – Coming back from a long weekend, getting ahead of your calendar is key to a successful re-start.  Examine what is in your future for the next few days and weeks.  Then “Block Time” for yourself to get your work done.  You will want to do this early to get ahead of the meeting schedulers who are going to fill up your calendar as soon as they get back in the office.

Win Early – A great way to get your productivity moving is to find some early wins. What do you have on your plate that you can complete immediately?  Getting some tasks behind you, no matter how small, is a great way to boost your energy.  Find some items that may have been lingering before the break and get them done first thing.

Clean Up Your Workspace – I am a big believer that a clean workspace leads to better work.  Hopefully, you had time to clean up before the break.  If not, this is a perfect time to set the tone for a successful return to work.  Clean up your desk and ensure that your workspace is ready for you.

Update That Todo List – Todo lists are extremely powerful when used effectively. They let you forget your tasks because you can always come find them again.  Now is a good time to review your todo list and get a status on what you need to do.  Make sure that nothing slipped through the cracks during the break period.

Avoid the Watercooler – Lots of stories will be told today from the vacation break. Avoid the temptation to listen to the gossip stories.  I am in no way saying be anti-social, but you probably don’t need to hear the same stories 47 times today.  Because that is how many times they will be told.

Process Your Email – Getting your email inbox to zero is a great way to jump-start the week.  You will find emails from before the break that need to be addressed.  It is a powerful tactic to get caught up before the email onslaught begins anew from those returning from break.

Get Some Quiet Time – There is going to be lots of hustle and bustle and just plain noise in the office today.  It might be a good idea to go out of your way to find some peace and quiet.  Find a conference room that is not in use or even go off-site if you must.

How do you get your productivity going after a break?  What tactics do you use to get your work back on track?

6 thoughts on “7 Tips to Jump-start Your Work After A Break

  1. Pretty good list of tips. Actually, I'd personally skip “Update That Todo List” if I already know what needs done, because doing that can become a time suck if I'm not careful.

    My problems tends to come from returning from very short breaks, actually. If I get distracted, getting myself back into my workflow is hard.

  2. Excellent post. My friends and I joke that a day away from work equals two days worth of work to be done on return. For that reason, one thing I do is automatically filter voicemails and faxes (both come to me by email) into separate folders. I also automatically filter blog subscriptions and non-priority people into their own space, which clears up my email box and prioritizes things a bit for me in advance. Things tend to be a bit easier to handle when I'm staring at 75 unread emails rather than 300.

  3. Thanks, Jay!

    Yes, many people dread being away from the office because of the build up that happens when they are away.

    Like to hear that you filter your voicemails and faxes. Love my visual voicemail on my iPhone. Lets me access any message without having to go through them all. 🙂

  4. Agree that some let their todo list become a time suck in itself. That is a sign.
    A good system should “make time, not take time.” 🙂

    I too get easily taken away by short breaks and distractions. Getting back on track is a good skill to hone.

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