Power up! How to get back to business after time off work

Aug 18th 2022 – Written By Stephanie Sheargold

Do you struggle to get back into a routine after you’ve been off work? You’re not alone. I read recently that it can take as long as four days just to fall back into a regular routine when we get back from holiday. And that’s without the disruption that comes from those you work with also being off work and having their routines knocked off-kilter.

I can’t help but think that the post-August lull so many of us feel when we’re back in the office is made worse by a slight feeling of complacency. The end of the year feels a million miles away, and there’s just so much time to get everything done, right?

Not quite. I always say, that once you take all the big holiday seasons and bank holidays out of the mix, there are really only three serious business periods each year. These are February to Easter, May to July and September to November. And when you look at it like that, Christmas is horrifyingly close! This means there’s never been a better time to get back to business as usual.

The best way to do this varies depending on who you are and what you do. However, there are three pieces of advice that work no matter what your situation. These are drawing up a routine, getting some accountability and working on your time management skills.

1.      Create a routine (and stick to it)

Having a clear routine or schedule in place helps make it easier to become productive again. So, before you do almost anything, pull up your Google calendar and plan out your week, or month if that’s possible. List out everything you need to do and then block out time on your calendar for when you intend to do it. Remember to allow time for lunch, to get some fresh air and to work on your own business. How about treating your return to work as a fresh start? Begin prioritising work on your own business, setting aside time to do this and treating yourself as a client.

2.      Get accountable

Have any of us ever truly shaken the back to school feeling that comes round in September? I know I haven’t! As well as using it as an excuse to treat myself to some new stationary, September is a brilliant time to invest in a coach or mastermind group if you haven’t already. Not only will this help you reflect on your business, create goals and establish new processes, but you will also gain the accountability you need to tackle those sticky projects or tasks that it’s easier to overlook and procrastinate on. Not got the budget for a coach or mastermind group just yet? How about setting up an informal accountability group with your network?

3.      Wise up on your time management skills

Time management is very much like a muscle. And after a relaxing summer where (even if you haven’t been away) everything goes at a slower pace, it’s natural that your time management skills will have slackened a little bit.

So buff up your time management by getting to grips with the basics. One of my favourites is the Eisenhower Box.

[Insert picture – from ‘why start-ups swear by using a VA’]

The Eisenhower Box is a brilliant way of helping prevent the overwhelm that so many of us feel when we have lots to do. By breaking your tasks down into important/not important and urgent/not urgent, you can prioritise more effectively. It’s also a brilliant way to identify which tasks you can outsource to your VA.

Preparation is everything

As much as it’s important to spend time setting up your schedule, ensuring your accountability is in place and that your time management skills are up to scratch, what you do before your time away is just as important. Some of the ways to prepare for your return to work before you head away on holiday include:

  • Getting your VA to manage your inbox while you are away
  • Using our call answering service to prevent missed opportunities and upset clients
  • Going ‘stealth’ and planning for a day back at your desk without any meetings or client work
  • Briefing projects with external providers before you go away, or failing that, setting up a date for a briefing for when you return
  • Making sure everyone knows when you’ll be away and who to contact instead.

No matter when you’re working, our team of VAs are here to support you, your team and your business. Not yet taken your holiday this year? Then read our blog ‘How to switch off when you’re on holiday this year’ next.