First Day Back

For many, today will be their first day back to work after a long holiday break. Perhaps you traveled, spent time with family, enjoyed some much needed rest and relaxation.

The tendency might be to rush back into work, making up for lost time by sending out a flurry of emails, reminding people of what they owe you, requesting meetings, and trying to get everything “back on track.”

But this penchant for trying to catch up in one day has one obvious drawback  – what goes around comes around. Imagine if in the spirit of being productive or getting on “top of things” everyone takes this approach.

Pick your metaphor. Hot potato, whack a mole, getting a monkey off my back by putting it yours or cleaning off my plate by dumping it onto yours.

Each of those visuals evokes a negative feedback loop, one mired in stressful back and forth, wasted time and frankly an unkind way to kick off a new work year – for you and everyone in your orbit.

(And no, starting an email with “Hope you had a nice holiday” will not in any way mitigate this stress.)

What if you instead tried this?

1)  Spend most of your time just working independently on a project you care about.

2)  If you want to send an email, don’t ask for anything. Instead, send an email complimenting someone for a job well done.

3)  Finally, If you have meetings already scheduled, try to end them early. The gift of found time will be especially appreciated today.. 

At the end of the day, instead of feeling good about how much you got done, maybe you’ll feel even better about how much easier you made someone else’s first day back.

(And if that doesn’t alleviate your pent up work stress, just remind yourself of all the people who had to work over the holidays and didn’t have much of a break at all.)

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