How to plan your work week after a long holiday

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Welcome back! Did you have a great time with friends, family and loved ones this Thanksgiving? Excellent! Now you can start digging yourself out of at least half a week of work. Take the initiative to organize yourself and your work to avoid the post-vacation burnout.

  1. Catch up on corporate communications. Sit down, focus and start from the bottom up. One of the biggest things to tackle when you come back from vacation is managing your overflowing inbox (still using email?), notifications from your social collaboration platform, or updates on your task management app activity stream. Once you have understood what has happened (or hasn’t happened) with your projects you can better organize your time for the work ahead.
  2. Create two task lists, personal and work-related, of all the projects and items that require your immediate action this week. Pay special attention items that have deadlines, require action from others or a group meeting. Add due dates to tasks and get reminders in your email or push notifications on your mobile devices to stay on top.
  3. Set priorities on each task so you know which ones need to be completed now vs. “now now.” This saying comes from a buddy of mine who used to live in Kenya. Kenyan time dictates that if someone says the bus is coming NOW, you have about 15 minutes before it arrives. If the bus is coming NOW NOW, you have about 3-5 minutes. If the bus is coming NOW NOW NOW, it’s already left. Hah! A pretty good joke for a Monday, right? No? Ok, moving on.
  4. Break up tasks into more manageable sub-tasks. A task like “Complete and submit RFP for Company XYZ” seems daunting. Break that down into steps like “1) Set up meeting with legal to review RFP guidelines, 2) Set up call with engineering team to recap technical product specifications, 3) Determine pricing with product and deployment team, 4) Compile list of 3 customer case studies, 5) Complete template and submit RFP to Company XYZ by Dec 31st, 2014” and sweet success seems that much closer!
  5. Delegate, delegate, delegate. Take a look at the sub-tasks ahead of you and see who you can assign them to in order to help you complete your projects faster. Utilize colleagues or outsource work to freelancers with services like odesk to get organized and lessen the load. If you can’t delegate things at the office, delegate what you can in your household. Technology is always your friend with this as several apps can help you with securing resources and overall project management. Services like TaskRabbit act like virtual personal assistants to help lighten the stress from everyday chores like cleaning the house, doing the laundry or balancing your bank statements. Or try Google Shopping Express and have everything on your shopping list delivered to your front door by the time you get home!

It’s easy to become overwhelmed when you return to work from a long vacation, but with these simple tips you’ll bounce back in no time!