January Joy – 7 Tips To Get You Back To Work With A Spring In Your Step

January 24, 2024

The year is already underway and the supermarkets had replaced tinsel with variously flavoured spiced fruit buns weeks ago. Perhaps you took some well-earned time off over the summer or you worked through, enjoying only the main public holidays; in either case, the period between mid-December and mid-January  brings about a definite lull in the work environment as projects get tied up at one end and unwrapped on the other, teams make do with skeleton staff and the entire world seems to be somewhere sandy or with a crisp, cold drink in hand.

How do you tackle the return to work creaks and pops as the gears start turning and everything is expected to begin whirring at regular speed? Following are some strategies to get into a rhythm in those first weeks back at the desk, just in case you’re feeling a bit rusty after your time off.

Routine Rules

So, your day/night hours became a little relaxed over the summer. Perhaps the 5-day test beckoned your weary bones to the couch for too long? Maybe the promise of long warm nights made it too easy to catch up with family and friends into the wee hours? We all know we turned off our 6am alarm and allowed our bodies to tell us the right time to wake up, which can get progressively later in the day. If you can, try to plan your return to work better by getting back into your regular sleep zone a day or two earlier than your first day back. Coffee can only hide so many sins and the 3pm slump will be upon you by 1, if you’re not careful.

Unbox Your Inbox

You may need to take the first 30 minutes of your day to get ahead of that scary number of unread emails in your inbox. Tackle it early and strategically. Sort your emails by sender and bulk delete all the spammy stuff that you don’t need and accept meetings right away so you can remove a large chunk before getting stuck into the work stuff.

a written checklist on a spiral-bound notebook numbered 1-4

Lead With Lists

Never underestimate the power of a trusty to-do list. A list will help you get into the swing of things, and to set out your goals for the coming days or weeks ahead. Prioritise your tasks from most to least important and let that satisfied grin stretch the corners of your mouth every time you tick one off.

No to Meetings, Yes to Meetings

Meetings can overload your days, so make sure you’re scheduling or attending the meetings that are necessary for you to be productive. On the other hand, if you need to meet with colleagues to catch up on things that you or they may have missed or during the down time, slot those into your schedule.

We Like to Move It

Nothing lets you know you’re back to work quite like the seat of your pants nestled firmly into the polyester of the ergonomic office chair. Let your healthy habits nestle in firmly too. Set yourself reminders to take regular breaks from the screen, do some stretches, fill up that water bottle or walk to someone’s desk instead of firing off a Teams message. If you have time, use your lunch break to keep your steps up and take a walk around the block.

Treat Yourself to Lunch

We don’t mean blow the budget on a fancy feast, just treat yourself to a lunch break. Whether you bring in something nice to reheat from home or schedule a catch-up lunch with a work mate or friend, taking the all-important lunch break can help you get through the day. Try not to eat at your desk – those crumbs are hard to fish out of your keyboard crevices.

Make Friday Fun

Nothing makes time drag on more than nothing to look forward to. Give yourself an end-of-the-week highlight celebration by planning something fun to do, whether it’s a quick after work beverage with friends or a solo treat, you’ve made it to the end of a long week, and you deserve it.

Work should complement your lifestyle, so make sure you love what you do enough to fund doing what you love. Putting a positive spin on your work week, and indeed year, can make all the difference to your attitude and your output.

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