Maintaining Your Sanity and Work-Life Balance After Vacation

Sandy beaches, beautiful resorts, and tropical drinks will soon become a distant memory as vacation season comes to an end. You’ve worked so hard all year to spend a week in paradise, but that didn’t stop your work emails from filling up your mailbox or the paperwork from piling up on your desk. You’re anticipating coming back to long hours and late nights just to get caught up. Well, there goes your work-life balance, right? How do you return from your relaxing vacation without feeling overwhelmed from the mountain of work that is waiting for you?

This doesn’t have to be your reality. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Planning your absence from work should be the same process as planning your actual vacation so that you can avoid the stress and mounting pressure of overdue responsibilities waiting for your return. Therefore, before you take a vacation, think about the following:

- Who can cover your major responsibilities in your absence that cannot be put on hold for a week?

- Have you reviewed your calendar and adjusted your schedule to coordinate with your vacation?

- Have you notified the appropriate personnel that will be impacted by your absence?

We know that things don’t always go according to plan, especially when you take time off. Mistakes may happen, tasks might be missed, and your mailbox may still likely be at capacity with waiting responses, even though you have your out-of-office reply set and your peer handling some of your workload. So, how to do return from vacation without anxiety?

Time management and prioritization will be key, but first, take a deep breath! Walk in with a positive mind and a positive attitude. Negativity may only cloud your judgment consequently impacting your work and the people around you. Next, review your calendar and block some time for you to catch up. Use that time to decide what the priorities are for the day, what can be delegated, and what can wait until the next day.

Then, get to it.

Maintaining a work-life balance is not a recommendation; it’s a requirement. Use your priority list to stay on track with time management, because managing your time will help you stay on track and minimize long, agonizing hours of work. The work will still be there tomorrow and the wheels will keep turning, even if you’re not the one pushing them. You may need to work through lunch or stay an hour past your normal shift, but not maintaining that balance may negatively impact your engagement level as well as your performance. Remember, this is at least a week’s worth of work that you need to accomplish, so don’t put so much pressure on yourself to complete it all in one day. You will likely burn yourself out or make mistakes.

Still not sure how to keep from drowning after vacation? Let us help! Thompson & Associates Career Consulting offers career development tools such as delegating, planning for time off, and time management so that you can enjoy your well deserve vacation while maintaining a work-life balance.

Tiarra Lofton, MHRM, VP of HR

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