This summer, whether you took a real vacation or just a mental one, you may find it difficult to return to the more fast-paced business activities of fall. Here's expert advice on how to swing back into work mode after a summer lull — and start fall on the right foot:
Yes, there will always be a ton of things to do. But forget about them for a while. Focus on determining the one task that will be essential to driving your business forward in the months ahead.
“Identify it, and you can be sure you're using your time in the best way possible,” Bariso says.
2. Be smart about email
Once you return from vacation, consider keeping your “out of office” email notifications on for a while, says Laura Vanderkam, author of “168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think."
Sure, your employees will know you’re around, but at least you can fend off a barrage of inquiries from outside while you get back up to speed. Even if you haven’t been on vacation, using an “out of office” message might prove useful while you’re trying to get re-energized.
And don’t let an overfull inbox stop you from more important tasks. Scan your emails and respond to only the most urgent, important ones. Consider moving the rest of your emails into an archive or "later" folder. Deal with them after you’ve gotten your bearings.
If someone really needs something from you, they will reach out to you again — especially after receiving an “out of office” message.
3. Prioritize your time
One of the best parts of being on vacation is not having a schedule — but that can make it hard to return to work.
Many time-management gurus recommend writing to-do lists every day that include only the most important three or four things you need to achieve that day. Don’t put more than that, or you might feel overwhelmed and unmotivated.
You may have lost touch with key customers over the summer, but early fall is a great time to reconnect. Choose at least one person to contact daily and call or send an email to say hello and touch base — maybe even set up a lunch meeting.
Getting into work mode after a vacation is hard, but it’s all about mindset. The more you feel energized about the months ahead, the less it will feel like “work.”
About the Author
Kelly Spors is a freelance writer and editor based in Minneapolis. She previously worked as a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal, covering small business and entrepreneurship.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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