The first week back to work after taking time off is painful for everyone, no matter how many new year resolutions you are trying to distract yourself with. The most important thing to remember, and the best way to stay focused, is to be kind to yourself and realistic about how long it may take to reach your normal productivity level. That is not an excuse to start slacking, in fact, use it as an opportunity to start positive habits. Follow a few simple tricks to help kick start January motivation and make it through the post-holiday blues.
You may want to avoid dealing with the intimidating inbox of emails for as long as possible, but don’t put it off, go through and prioritise those emails into Deal with Today, Deal with This Week, and Spam/Delete. By the time you finish this task, your inbox will feel manageable, and you will have a clear idea about what you need to tackle today, and this week.
Now you can create a to-do list. Note down the tasks that you need to achieve today, this week, and this month. Prioritise these tasks with deadlines so you understand exactly what needs to be dealt with, when and in what order. This may seem like a basic task when you look back at the end of the week, but following a week of leisure your brain will appreciate this organisation. If you can re-schedule non-urgent tasks until the end of the week when you will be feeling yourself again, it may be more effective for everyone.
Half of your office are currently reaching for caffeine and sugar, and the other half are downing detox juices and wheatgrass shots. Whatever you do, make sure you feed your body, your brain is going to need all the help it can get. If you can, stay away from greasy food, or those caffeinated, blue, fizzy drinks. Go for things rich in good fats, Vitamin B and natural sugars, you are going to need snacks, and drink water – lots of it. Coffee may be your saviour, but caffeine will make you crash eventually, so if you can’t avoid it make sure any caffeine is accompanied with lots of water between. Ultimately you will be able to concentrate and perform a lot better if you have looked after your body.
Take lots of little breaks if you can, just getting up from your desk to get a drink will help break up concentrating on work for too long. Make sure you leave your desk for your lunch break, imprisoning yourself in your office after so much time away from your work environment will not make the day go faster or increase your productivity. Allowing some time out will help you tackle the rest of the afternoon with a clear head.
January is a good time to do a forecast for the year ahead. What could you improve on from last year, what are your targets this year? How are you going to achieve them? In 2018, there are changes which all businesses need to be prepared for. Are you ready for the GDPR? Has your company reported their Gender Pay Gap yet? Is this something you might be able to help with?
Most of all, be kind to yourself and your colleagues. These are tips for the first few days back to work, but being self-aware of your general wellbeing is a good habit to take to work and maintain for the rest of the year.