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How to Get Back to Work After Vacation

vacationWith summer quickly approaching, you may be planning for a much-needed vacation. Anywhere other than your office sounds good, right?

We’re big fans of taking vacation time around here because we’ve learned the hard way that all work and no play leads to burnout, fast. Well-rested CPA’s are the best CPA’s because their stress level is lower and their energy is higher. This leads to enhanced productivity, better decisions and a keen eye for detail—all important things if you’re running your own business, especially if you’re working with a team rather than operating as a one-(wo)man shop.

Despite the importance of giving your mind and body the opportunity to turn off for a short time, most CPA’s struggle to truly step away from their never-ending workload. Yes, they may find themselves on a Caribbean Beach for a few hours, but once they go back to the hotel, they’re sneaking peeks at their emails, making just a few “quick calls” and half a day later, they’ve reverted right back into work mode. Oops.

The trick to turning off while you’re on vacation is planning ahead. Before you ever leave your office to begin with, you need to create a “back to work” plan that will help you step away completely while you’re on vacation and then get back into the swing of things quickly once you return.

Here are 5 key components of a winning back to work plan:

  1. Give yourself a no-contact day: If you plan to return to the office on Monday, tell everyone you’ll be back on Tuesday. This will allow you one full day to prioritize emails, voicemails and plan your to-do list for the week ahead without everyone trying to get a piece of you.
  2. Protect your calendar: There’s nothing more stressful than coming back to a calendar that’s packed with back-to-back meetings. Be kind and allow yourself the opportunity to ease back into things. Meeting dates are rarely as urgent as they may appear to be at first glance. Make room in your calendar for no more than one meeting per day once you’re back in the office (that includes tele-meetings and webinars) and remember, the world will not stop turning if you postpone a few meetings until the following week.
  3. Organize before you go: Clear your desk of paper clutter. Sort emails into folders. Make sure the printer has paper and ink. Pay the bills. You get the idea. A well-organized workspace is a peaceful workspace.
  4. Go to bed early: Your body is used to resting. Don’t shock it by falling back into your old routine of sleeping 5 hours a night again. Make a point to go to bed early enough that you have a full 8 hours of sleep. Additionally, wake up early enough that you have time to ease back into the demands of the day rather than rushing to get out the door and inevitably, leaving something you really need, behind.
  5. Eat well: You’ll need extra energy to get back into the swing of things. That said, pass on the donuts offered at the meetings and instead fuel your body with healthy food that will allow it to serve you well. And remember to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Put this plan into action and you’ll find returning to the office after a blissful week (or two) away is easier than ever.

And if you’re one of those people that never seems to find time to get away, stop reading this blog right now and jump over to a travel website instead. You need a break. We all need breaks. Be kind to yourself.

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