How to Avoid That Post Vacation Panic

22 Jun

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It’s that time of year when chances are, you are planning to take some time off to vacation with friends and family members. It’s that time to shake off the tensions and day-to-day problems of the workplace and frolic in the freedom of a temporary care-free life of fishing, swimming, tanning, or maybe just doing nothing.

But if you are anything like most of my clients, lurking in the back of your mind is the dreaded thought of returning to the workplace. You know what I’m talking about – it’s having to deal with the humungous number of emails and issues that need to be resolved, as well as the routine work pile-up. For some, just the anticipated thought of having to get back into work mode on your first day back is enough to wipe away the energized and relaxed feeling that you gained while on vacation.

Well, to help you retain that “vacation glow” and manage your stress positively on your first day back, consider putting into practice the following tips and insights:

  • Stay in control by utilizing the control that’s inherently yours. For instance, remind yourself that you are in control of the work and not the other way around. From there…
  • Build a “to-do list”. Findings from the seven-year Strategies for Enhancing Performance Study found that building to-do lists was among the top 3 most effective skills used by Northeast workers to enhance performance while simultaneously mitigating the negative effects of stress. After building your to-do list, decide what needs to be done by the end of the day and what can wait until the next day. Another option for those who like to go full speed ahead is to select a “close out time” that signifies when the workday ends.
  • If you feel that overwhelmed surge that’s likened to an electrical overload, remind yourself – unless you are a doctor, nurse, fireman, or police officer – that what you are working on is not a matter of life and death!
  • Make sure you keep your boss informed of what you are working on and what you are putting off. It’s not permission-seeking, rather it’s taking initiative to stay aligned with your boss.
  • Finally, optimize your energies when working on a task by practicing Bright’s Stay-in-the-Present Quick Charge. Quick Charges are easily implemented techniques designed to help users perform at their best when a difficult situation demands it. They are instantly effective—and even better, they are undetectable by anyone but the person using them. Practicing the Stay-in-the-Present Quick Charge involves being aware that allowing yourself to worry about past events is futile because there is nothing you can do to change them. You can only learn from them. At the same time, to become anxious about what might happen is a waste of energy because it hasn’t happened yet. Not to say that anticipation is not good. It is. But, it becomes simple worry when it’s not linked to a plan of action. So, instead, you should “stay in the present” and direct your energies toward what needs to be done at this very instant. The present moment is where you can and need to make a difference. While working on a task, resolve to yourself to keep your mind from roaming and causing you to get that panicky feeling that arises when allowing yourself to consider all the work that lies in front of you. By setting a very specific goal of what you want to accomplish with the particular task at hand, you’ll gain a sense of control.
Deb Bright, Ed.D., is founder and president of Bright Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm devoted to enhancing performance. Her roster of clients includes Raytheon, Marriott, Disney, GE, Chase, Morgan Stanley, and other premier organizations. She is also a best-selling author. Her newest book is entitled The Truth Doesn’t Have to Hurt: How to Use Criticism to Strengthen Relationships, Improve Performance, and Promote Change (AMACOM Books).
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