Back To Reality: Long Weekend Recovery 101
Long weekends are awesome, but today it’s the reality of going back to work, and most of us feel about as motivated as Jacob Zuma attending court.
While it’s tempting to spend the day procrastinating and crying into our whiskey… er, coffee… the best way to tackle this and make the most of it is actually being productive. I know, I’m being THAT guy, the vegan cross-fitter who jogged to work and makes you want to poison their protein shake, but they have a point: studies prove that starting off the new day after a long weekend with a motivated POA boosts not only productivity, but energy levels and mood.
For the best tips, we decided to ask our friends. Then we laughed and decided to get some real advice from our CEO and Chief Toilet Roll Distributor, Matthew Smith, who started up this magical little company from scratch, and worked the whole weekend anyway so he has no sympathy with any of us...
Since you’re just putting off the inevitable anyway, give yourself a leg up with a head start. Try and go in a few hours early on your first day and catch up prior to the actual start of the day. Otherwise just get up earlier, go for a five minute run, shower, and at least start off feeling fresh and totally not like you were fantasising about running away from home.
Make a plan.
Having a to-do list is never a bad idea, but on the first day back after a break it’s especially helpful to keep you mentally focused. Spend 10 to 15 minutes at the beginning of the day mapping out your desired accomplishments and prioritise the tasks that are most important. If your attention starts to drift, the list will help keep you on track. If that doesn’t work get your co-workers to taser you every time you start daydreaming.
Not the email! While you absolutely need to tackle it, wading through all your email first thing is just going to bog you down. You’re relaxed, you’re refreshed: take advantage of that momentum by tackling something that requires real action! Plowing through a list of cold calls, setting up a conference room for an upcoming meeting or teaching a new employee how to do something are all good candidates. Next time remember to set an “out of office” reply to buy yourself a bit more time.
Spark your creativity.
The best thing for motivation is stealing the motivation from the souls of your co-workers, so ease back into the swing of things with more creative or group projects. Collaborative work and projects that require some imagination will both benefit from the stream-of-consciousness mindframe you might be in on your first post-holiday workday. Identify the project or initiative that you are most passionate about, then take whatever next step you need to get the creative juices flowing, whether it’s convening a brainstorming session or heading up a team meeting.
Fix your attitude.
Yes, you, the sulky creature moaning about being back at work. We get it — yesterday you were on the beach, and today you’re stuck in a cubicle in front of a screen. But try not to resent it because you’ll only make yourself miserable. We often think of work and the rest of our lives as opposing forces which pulls us further into our hungover depression, so even if it takes some mental gymnastics, try to adjust your outlook because it will quite literally cheer you up. At the very least it will stop someone from murdering you, which is also good.
Next time, plan ahead.
Don’t just bolt out the door on Thursday with no regard for Tuesday you. That’s just mean. Ideally you should lay the groundwork for your return before you head out the door on your last day. Send out emails early, so you can get back to anybody who responds immediately that day — it will cut down on the number of email responses you have to tackle when you return, for a start, and use your out-of-office messages to buy yourself a little extra time.
And for the love of all things beautiful, don’t put things off till after the weekend. That is a terrible idea, because you are most likely to spend the last day of the weekend in a state of anxious dread knowing what you have to tackle on Tuesday morning.
- Georgina Roberts