To find recommended tools and other great resources, check out the Productivity Academy Resource Toolkit: https://productivity.academy/resources
It’s no secret that having a work routine in place helps you be in control of your day and maximize productivity. Knowing your productivity peaks and planning your routine accordingly is a great way to ensure you are at your most efficient.
But sometimes, we are not able to follow our plan and even have to work in an unfamiliar location.
We don’t have our desk and tools and may have to work on the go.
Or more simply, we decide to take time off and go on holiday and then have to deal with coming back and getting back into our “flow”.
When our routine gets disrupted, it is hard to get back on track straight away. Whether it’s because of the jet lag or the Monday blues, we may notice a sort of downtime when returning to work.
In this article, I will give you my best tips to get back into the groove and be productive straight away whether it’s your first day back after vacation or you’re just recovering from a disruption to the status quo.
The Daily Review
Being aware of the current situation is crucial. That is why the daily review is even more important when external factors prevent us from following our routine.
The daily review will allow you to check and rearrange your priorities taking into account all the commitments and circumstances created by your time off work.
On Monday morning, your first thought should be to look at your tasks, get familiar with your calendar again, and organize your responsibilities. By acknowledging your tasks and circumstances, you will be able to prioritize them effectively instead of feeling overwhelmed or side-swiped.
Schedule the Downtime
As with all things productivity-related, knowing yourself is the first step towards success.
For example, I know that on the first day back to work I tend to get slower during the afternoon. My mind gets tired and I really have a hard time getting to the end of the day if I’ve packed it full of energy consuming activities and decision making.
It’s my downtime and fighting against it is a losing battle.
That is why I never plan important, energy-consuming activities for downtime. Therefore, I would certainly not schedule intense meetings or a financial review for my downtime whenever possible.
You know where you are going to be less productive, so try to schedule around that. Knowing your productivity cycles won’t magically make you more efficient in itself, but it will help you make the best of your time.
If you know you can’t focus or write on the computer, try exercising instead.
If you can’t hold a meeting and be charismatic, read or learn something new.
Make sure that the task at hand is something that you know you’ll be able to sustain your focus on ahead of time.
Build the Momentum
How to get back to work when you feel that you can’t even get started?
Springing into action may certainly seem hard on the first day back, but there are strategies that can help you dive in.
- Eat the Frog. If you are like most people, you will get increasingly less focused as the day goes on. Just one more reason to tackle your big tasks first. The Eat the Frog method suggests to do just that: start with the challenging work, with a fresh mind and at your energy peak, and the rest will follow naturally.
- Get in gradually. Doing the hard work first may seem fine on a normal day, but maybe not on a Monday morning after two weeks traveling. If that’s the case, try to take it slow and face smaller tasks first. That will give you near-instant gratification and gradually lead you back to your normal work pace.
The bottom line is, be smart about it. When it comes to re-building your productivity, your philosophy should be getting on top of it, and then getting in front of it.
Figure out a way to organize your tasks and be in control of your schedule, and then realize how to get your productivity rolling.