How to Maximize Post-Vacation Productivity and Performance Today

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Written By Ainsley Lawrence

The post-vacation productivity and work performance tend to drop for most people. Taking a vacation is a vital part of your life. It almost doesn’t matter where you go, as the staycation is an increasingly popular approach.

The point is that time away from the demands of work and the mundanity of everyday life is good for you. You get to separate from the grind, embark on adventures, and just focus on what is interesting to you. It is no wonder many people spend their work lives looking forward to the next trip!

Nevertheless, there comes a time when the vacation has to end. This jump from the joys of your free time to the pressures of work can be extremely difficult. The rollercoaster of emotions and the lack of a free will can act as a kind of drag on your workflow.

One of the results is often a drop in your productivity. This can have a knock-on effect on the rest of the business and create additional pressure to play catch up at a time in which you are already struggling.

We are going to take a closer look at how you can maximize your post-vacation productivity.

Allow for Transition

1. Allow for Transition

The first thing you need to remember is you can’t just dive into your work from vacation. This is to ignore the fact that there is a difference in the way you’ve been functioning as of late. If you don’t give yourself the time and space to adjust, you run the risk of pushing yourself too hard, too soon, and potentially experiencing burnout. This isn’t good for you or for the company you work for.

So, start by talking with your employer or your clients. Set realistic expectations on what you can achieve in your first weeks after returning from vacation. This doesn’t mean your peak performance at the best possible time. It means taking a workload that represents a gentle easing-in. Communicate what the situation is and how a gradual return to full productivity is more sustainable and positive for everyone involved.

From a personal perspective, allow yourself moments during the day to pull back a little on your workflow. Don’t arrange your day so you are expecting to work full-on at 9 a.m. or straight after lunch. Take your time and allow for idle moments.

Indeed, a certain amount of procrastination can actually be beneficial to your productivity. It can help you develop more innovative solutions to problems and gain new perspectives. Build it into your day, particularly as you transition from vacation to full-time work. 

2. Get Organized

Chaos is the enemy of productivity at the best of times. It is especially unhelpful when you are returning from your vacation. If you come back to your office to find your space in disarray or your day overstuffed with tasks, this can be frustrating. You are unlikely to be of the mindset to operate productively or positively in this state. Therefore, one of your most important tools here is getting organized.

Start with your paperwork. Too much clutter when it comes to your key documents can seriously disrupt your workflow. Perhaps most importantly, it can make your day-to-day activities more confusing and stressful than they need to be.

One way to alleviate this type of stress and disruption is through a commitment to effective document management practices. Be organized here by creating a solid plan to outline rules for creating, storing, and disposing of your documents. Be consistent in your naming of electronic documents for easy retrieval. It takes some up-front work, but it pays off.

Alongside the trappings of your files, it can be wise to organize your day. Create a solid schedule, even if you haven’t used one in the past. Your days during your vacation were likely unstructured.

Returning to the rigid expectations of work can be a bump. You don’t need to include every activity you’ll be performing during each hour. But setting guidelines for key tasks can keep you on top of things and relieve some of your workplace stress.

3. Embrace Collaboration

When you return from vacation, it is not unusual to feel a sense of isolation. You’ve been away from your colleagues for some time. Indeed, there may be new members of your team in the weeks you’ve been away.

While it is likely nobody wants to make you feel like an outsider, it can be natural for everyone to feel a little distant from each other at first. This could affect teamwork, which can impact your productivity — and theirs!

It is, therefore, important to embrace opportunities for collaboration as soon as possible. Start with a simple catch-up session. If you are not a member of management, speak to your team leader about arranging a brief meeting. This can be a great way to re-establish connections with your colleagues by touching on your time away but really focusing on how things have been in the office. It can be something of an information dump, but it gets you more efficiently up to speed.

You can then find reasons to work closely together. Seek your colleagues’ advice on difficult situations and step up to offer your expertise to them. This may not be the way you would usually operate, but it can show you are keen to engage with your coworkers. It also gets you back into the mindset of functioning as a group rather than purely autonomously.

Engage in Self-Care 

4. Engage in Post-Vacation Self-Care

One of the most important things to remember is that post-holiday depression is a very real challenge.

You are brought back to the reality of working life, with its various financial, professional, and emotional challenges. Even if you love your job, the mundanity of the experience can find you faced with some anxiety or a lack of focus. As such, it is vital you make time for self-care.

Self-care is about giving yourself regular time and space to engage in activities essential for your wellbeing. This could include moments throughout the day for some meditation and mindfulness.

The important thing is to check in with yourself about how you are doing and what is causing you stress. Taking microbreaks is also considered psychologically beneficial. But make time for longer sessions, too. Go for a walk in the park or talk to a friend.

These are actions to disconnect you from the relentless stream of work and focus entirely on what restores you. You’ll usually find these activities are individual to your needs and preferences, so it’s worth taking time to explore what works for you. The important thing is to develop self-care into a habit. By prioritizing your wellness, you will be more able to be productive at work.

5. Plan Your Next Vacation

This one may seem a little counterintuitive — after all, you’ve only just returned from your vacation — but becoming productive again often requires you to get over the hump of coming back to work.

One effective way to approach this is to give yourself something to look forward to in the near future. In essence, you are setting a new reward for your hard work, which can be a great spur to productivity in itself.

You don’t necessarily need to book the vacation immediately. Few people can take this kind of financial hit having just finished a trip! But start looking at potential destinations for your time away.

Consider what you didn’t get around to this time that you can focus on next time. This can be particularly useful in addressing the sense you didn’t gain all the experiences you’d hoped for before returning to the grind of work.

Plan Your Next Vacation


Why is vacation important for productivity at work?

It is common to experience a drop in productivity when you return from vacation. This is often the result of post-vacation blues and discomfort with coming back to the demands of work.

It is important to be kind to yourself during this period. Give yourself time to gradually transition and engage in some self-care practices. It is also important to take practical measures like improving your organizational protocols and scheduling.

A vacation is an essential tool for maintaining your overall well-being, but you also need to be productive enough that you can carry yourself toward the next one!

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