I recently shared some tips on how to prepare yourself for a summer work vacation, and I’ll say again that time off from work is critical to reduce stress and improve productivity in the long run.

Now let’s look at the flip side: how to prepare for a smooth return to the office after vacation. These tips can help keep the post-vacation blues from showing up early, or at all.

  • Schedule catch-up time before vacation. Block off the first few hours (or days) of your return to assess what’s what. And if possible, hold off on meetings until you feel caught up and ready. Knowing you have time set aside to get back into work mode can reduce stress, especially on your first day back.


  • Keep your “out of office message” on while catching up. Yes, co-workers will know you’re back, but this is a good way to put off interruptions and external issues until you’re able to fully focus on them.


  • Sneak into the office a day or a few hours early before you are “officially” back. For some people, this uninterrupted quiet time helps them get fully organized and able to “officially” walk back in from vacation with a smile and positive energy.


  • Review emails by subject or sender, not date. This allows you to very quickly zero in on key issues that need to be addressed, regardless of when the email came in, says a recent LifeHack.com article. Also, you can easily delete groups of emails that are non-work related and save other emails into a folder to be reviewed later.


  • Remember what excites you about your job. The site FastCompany.com offers good advice: “Think about one thing that excites you about the work that you do. Is there a particular project you’re looking forward to working on, or an opportunity to become involved in a new initiative?” The return to work can be easier if you have something to look forward to.


  • Don’t forget that you took time off. Keep a picture or some other memento of your vacation in your work space. According to Fast Company, this “can serve to remind you of the wonderful time you had and help you hold onto the positive energy that comes from taking time away to recharge.”


  • Go easy on yourself. Try not to switch immediately into overwork mode after vacation, and don’t beat yourself up if it takes a little while to catch up. That’s normal, even for super-organized folks. Keep that little bit of vacation mode going by leaving the office on time for the first few days and taking lunches with co-workers to talk about how much fun you had while away. Before you know it, you’ll be comfortably back into full work mode.

Even if you love your job and use your time well, transitioning back from vacation can sometimes feel overwhelming. A little advanced planning can help lower your “anticipation stress” of the first day back on the job—and keep you in vacation relaxation mode a bit longer.

Returning from summer vacation, like most things at work, requires productivity and organizational skills to make the most of the time you have.

If you want to improve your productivity and overcome the overwhelm that comes too often comes along with returning from vacation, consider checking out my FREE webinar: “Your Best Summer Yet! How to get things handled at work AND take time for yourself.”

During this training I’ll help you see:

  1. WHY the things you’ve planned to do to move your business forward just aren’t getting done – why what you’re doing isn’t working for you.
  2. HOW to take control of your time and tasks – and the actual tools to help you STOP the feelings of being weighed down, overwhelmed, and confused.
  3. WHAT positive mindset really is, when it works, and why it’s only one piece of the solution you need.

Just click the link below to register, and you’re on your way to amazing productivity at any time of year!

Join the FREE webinar!

I hope to see you there!

Sarah Reiff-Hekking