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Back to work after vacation? These productivity tips at work will ensure a smooth return to routine!
By Jaya Narayan
On the Indian calendar, October and November are chockful with festivals and holidays; Diwali, Dussehra, Id – not to mention Government mandated holidays such as Gandhi Jayanti. As soon as you get back to work after vacation, tons of emails, urgent meeting requests, critical conference calls and burning customer issues await you. It is unstated but well understood that all of these are important and have to be attended to NOW!
Is there a better way to handle pending work with ease so that your breaks stay enjoyable? We hope these productivity tips at work will help keep alive your holiday spirit after you rejoin work.
“Even before I get into any festive mood I check my diary and planner to complete all my assignments. Since I have completed my work before the advent of these holidays, I can enjoy with a free mind”, says Mitra Chatterjee Khanna, Joint Managing Director, Peyote Morgan, an Executive-search firm.
Most of us are in a big hurry for our holidays to begin and tend to postpone deliverables for our return. This is a complete no-no. You can avoid the dreadful feeling of coming back to unending backlog by being proactive. Make sure that you not only complete all pending tasks but are near ready on deliverables that have to be wrapped up as soon as you get back.
Most of us are in a big hurry for our holidays to begin and tend to postpone deliverables for our return. This is a complete no-no.
“I prefer working a wee bit extra and delegate responsibilities before I go on a holiday to give me a head start when I get back. For instance if a proposal has to be sent to a customer as soon as I get back, I will prepare it and keep it 95% ready, pending a few minor edits. This way I don’t need to spend too much time on it when I get back”, suggests Lakshmi Kruti Vasan, International Director – SAARC countries, Crestcom India, a management training firm.
Curtail time wasters. Be conscious of time. Your objective in the first two days after a long break must be to maximize efficiencies. Follow simple time management tips to keep the work day anxiety free. Informal chit chats, multiple coffee breaks, chain mails etc have to be restricted as much as possible.
“I always prefer walking up to people or quickly talking to them to understand complicated issues instead of adding to mail trail”, says Anish Singh, Founder Director of Techbridge Networks, a company that does manpower and process outsourcing. You don’t need to be impolite to social invitations but can request for a time later in the week to attend to them. Keep in mind, an activity that is taking time away but not helping reduce backlog has to be re-scheduled to later.
The art of scheduling. Keeping your work schedule meeting free, planning time to get up to speed and being informed on everything necessary to perform your job effectively will surely help you gain time. If you come in late, avoid wasting time by attacking pending emails in one go – instead, tackle them in batches, while looking out for anything marked ‘priority’ or ‘urgent’. A quick chat on a specific topic interlinked to your deliverables will conserve time and effort.
“On the day I return to work after a long break I normally begin early and finish e-mailing before my co-workers walk in to the office. I also try and turn down requests for long, back to back meetings for the first two days unless something needs my immediate attention and cannot be re-scheduled”, shares Anish Singh.
It is important to set reasonable expectations with your manager and internal/external customers on deadlines during the holiday season. If you manage teams, don’t punish them by demanding irrational results from day one because of your lack of planning.
Be realistic. Keep in mind, ‘Rome was not built in a day’. Switching our mental outlook prior to starting work will help prepare for the bumpy day ahead. It is important to set reasonable expectations with your manager and internal/external customers on deadlines during the holiday season. If you manage teams, don’t punish them by demanding irrational results from day one because of your lack of planning. Be practical about what you can achieve after a long break.
Keep the festive spirit alive. The rejuvenated spirit must be nourished as long as possible for your well being. Cracking a difficult problem, informal learning, social networking or taking a quick coffee will keep up your enthusiasm after the break. Moments that sap your energy have to be traded in with the memories of the wonderful holiday you just enjoyed.
The end goal for busy employees when they return to work should be getting back to speed, making up for lost productivity and staying invigorated. Remember – if guilt free holidaying is your slogan, meticulous planning is the watchword.
Till your next long break!