Party Time’s Over: 8 Tips On Getting Back To Work After A Holiday

Coming back to work after a holiday is never fun. Gone are the days of exploring ancient streets, relaxing by pools and getting playfully lost in art galleries. But returning back to the nine-to-five doesn’t have to be so ho-hum. It’s a whole lot easier to get back on that work horse if you follow a contingency plan – especially one that takes into account all the post-holiday sulking you’re bound to do.

Repeat after me: It’s going to be okay. I will get through this work week. And remember, it’s only four more months until summer. That’s almost cause for celebration.

Here’s how to make getting back to work easier after weeks of escaping reality.

#1 Come back a day early

While you’re probably keen to soak up as much beach time as humanly possible, there’s a lot to be said for returning on Saturday instead of Sunday. Fast Company say returning one day earlier means you get a chance to unpack properly, do your laundry, catch up on sleep (hello, jet-lag!) and even just get yourself situated for the working week ahead.


Catching up on sleep and drinking copious cups of coffee is a necessity for some.

#2 Keep your out-of-office message on

If you’ve already set up an out-of-office reply before leaving, it might make sense to leave it on for an extra day or two, just to give you a leg-up for the working week. The people in the office know you’re back at work, but there’s no real reason for the wider world to know just yet. That additional day will give you plenty of time to…

#3 Clean up and organise your inbox

We’ve spoken before about how to clean up your email inbox, but a post-holiday inbox might call for a completely different tact. LifeHack suggests that instead of reading your emails in chronological order (i.e. the oldest ones first), sort them either by subject or by sender. That way you’ll be able to get across what happened while you were away, instead of when things happened. This technique also means its easier to delete emails that are no longer relevant like old news updates or expired promotions.

#4 Quickly scan your calendar

And I mean quickly! Don’t get trapped in the “I have too much to do, why did I even leave” spectrum of emotions – instead, review your calendar for the next few days to get across upcoming meetings, due dates, projects and obligatory holiday debrief lunch dates with co-workers. That way you won’t be completely caught off guard when you’re dragged into a 3pm strategy meeting.


#5 Make a prioritised to-do list, and include some contingency time

First up, write down everything that you have to do. Then, highlight everything that needs to be done today – namely, the things that if not done, will screw up someone else’s day. Do those things first, and then trudge on to those second tier tasks. But don’t feel guilty if you want a little break in between tasks – you’re going to take a while to get back into the swing of things so allow yourself a little contingency time to act as an in-between-tasks buffer. Also, try to only do one thing at a time – multitasking isn’t so good for your brain.

#6 Remove distractions

Log out of Facebook. No, really. It’s no fun seeing reminders of what you left behind, so quit looking at all the friends still in Europe. You can do this by cutting out obvious distractions like social media, or go hard by opting to turn your phone off completely. It’s drastic, but as they say, drastic times call for drastic measures.

#7 Leave the office on time

Thinking about doing overtime to make up for time spent on vacation? Honestly, it’s not necessary. You’ll catch up soon enough, so there’s no need to play the hero and go overboard. Make a plan to leave work at a reasonable hour – the work will be there tomorrow whether or not you do it now.


#8 Make sure you schedule something fun for after work

That first day back is going to be tough – there’s no denying it. But in order to ease the sting a little, make sure you’ve got something to look forward to that night so you won’t fall into that dreaded post-holiday depression. Plan a dinner catch up with some mates or organise a treat yo’ self night with a new episode of Stranger Things. Just don’t go flicking through those beach snaps and wishing you were still there. That’s just a recipe for disaster, mate.

Rebecca Russo is a freelance writer, editor, community radio dabbler, occasional hiker and celebrity autobiography enthusiast. She has written for online publications including Junkee, AWOL, Fashion Journal and Tone Deaf. Find her online here.