The first day back from vacation can feel overwhelming. You come back to a bucket instead of the normally dripping faucet of information, with hundreds of emails and tons of phone calls, yet how you handle the day, can improve your productivity significantly.
Most of us do the logical thing: Start from the top or bottom and go through messages and requests one by one. Instead, take advantage of the situation and create a clean slate. Your first question to ask yourself is, What is most important for me to accomplish?
My top priorities should be the things that make the biggest difference in my business
There is a theory I like, prioritizing your tasks as A, B, and C, and you focus on the A’s only. I really like this after vacation. Take advantage of your clearer vision and reduced stress to make thoughtful decisions, and encourage your team to do the same. Often, those tasks that rate as a B or C, need not be done at all or can be delegated.
Putting the plan into action
To be at your most productive, you should be spending 95% of your time on your own priorities. Requests or demands of your time that are outside of your priorities will happen, and you need to be willing and ready to communicate your boundaries to your coworkers and colleagues.
- Look at every meeting you’re invited to and decide if it’s moving you forward, if not, withdraw or cancel.
- Look at your calendar. Does your schedule predispose you to accomplish these things? If not, change it.
- Keep in mind that emails not initiated by you are often someone else’s priority.
Never start your day by working on someone else’s to-do list
And at the end of each day, look back and ask, did I work on my priorities? If not, what can you learn for tomorrow?
After vacation is a perfect time to set yourself up for productivity because time away gives you space to energize your focus. Once you’ve had space from the day-to-day, you can be clear on your priorities, because you no longer are stressed by daily fires and to-do lists.
When we come back to work, it’s important to identify and be super clear on priorities—yours and your organization’s—and move forward.
Taken in part from Fast Company