The “first day back” has some characteristics that are different than other regular workdays:
1. Motivation and energy levels can be a little low.
2. Colleagues may wish to play “catch-up” on both personal and professional items.
3. Voicemail, email and regular mail levels are likely to be “crazy”!
Whether you have been away on a vacation in the sun, visiting family or even away on a long training course, coming back to the office after a break can be tough for anyone. It is probably one of those times when being disciplined with yourself and applying good time management techniques can really make a difference.
So … the “To Do list” and your calendar can really help you to get back in control quickly.
As someone who has probably made all of the mistakes at some point in my long career I thought I would share some of my thoughts …
1. Take out the “To Do List” … BEFORE you check email and BEFORE you check voicemail. If possible do this before you actually arrive back in the office, but worst case make it your first event.
2. Understand what the high priority items are on your current to do list.
3. Scan voicemails for urgent items … add them to the to do list or deal with them if they are truly THAT urgent (very rare).
4. Block time off later in your calendar for dealing with the rest of the voicemails (based on how long you think it will take).
5. Scan emails for urgent items … deal with this the same way as your voicemail.
6. Scan the real mail … treat the same as above.
7. Now the “To Do” list becomes the driver of your time and should include tasks for dealing with the less urgent items from the email, voicemail and regular mail.
8. Work with your calendar to set time aside to deal with the To Do list items.
9. Plug time into your calendar to talk with everyone you need to talk with … use a mini-agenda to ensure you cover everything you need to, without taking too much time.
10. Go at it!
I was in the UK so as the day goes on I find my energy levels waning a little … 5 hour time difference. This brings to mind another good time management tip … take on the hardest tasks when your energy levels are at their highest, as energy wanes switch to the less demanding items such as clearing emails etc.
Hope this is useful to you … got to run, I am running over my allotted “blogging time”!
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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