If you’re lucky, this past holiday weekend was full of family, friends and relaxation. You were able to sleep in, ease into your day, and spend time re-charging and doing the things you love most.
But what happens when you have to go back to work? All of a sudden you’re overwhelmed with e-mails, voicemails and problems that manifested themselves while you were away. It’s enough to make you want to call in sick and delay the inevitable a little bit longer, however, there are other alternatives — better alternatives — that can make the transition from holiday to work a little bit easier.
Tony Schwartz tackled this very issue recently in the Harvard Business Review and offers six ways to supercharge your productivity.
Make sleep a priority. Schedule a bedtime and start shutting your brain off at least 45 minutes prior to that time. We’ve all heard that most people need 7-8 hours to feel fully rested, but in this day and age, it’s nearly impossible to achieve, so focus on getting as much sleep as possible.
Create one to-do list. This list should include both professional and personal items, because putting them all down allows you to fully focus on what’s most important.
Do the most important thing first. Depending on your job, the morning may be the only time of the day when you have minimal distractions. Decide the night before what activity deserves your attention.
Change up your day. Working continuously only depletes your energy reservoir, so take small breaks throughout the day to re-fuel and re-energize, even if it’s just a trip to the vending machine for water.
Keep your mood in check. It’s easy to become pessimistic or negative when you’re feeling overwhelmed, so ask yourself why you’re feeling the way you are and what you can do to make yourself feel better. Then take action.
Schedule times for important but not urgent tasks. Things like writing and strategy can often take a back seat to those urgent phone calls or tasks that seem to constantly pile up. But keep in mind that while the former tasks often require more time and energy, they often yield the greatest rewards.