It’s no secret that 2020 has been rather a crazy whirlwind. First lockdown, then getting used to a new normal with working from home, studying from home, Zoom and Skype calls and social distancing.
Now, things are slowly getting back to normal and everything is getting back on track after lockdown and a long summer break. Getting back into work and study mode after time off can be a difficult task.
The most important tip? Cut yourself some slack, you will get there eventually! With that in mind, here are five great ways to get hit the ground running.
1. Get yourself ready
I vividly remember the last few days of summer as a kid. My mom would take me to the bookstore, buy new notebooks, ring binders, pens, pencil cases. It was so exciting to pick up new stuff and get ready and organized for the new school year.
Although, you probably don’t need to go out and buy new notebooks and pens, the idea of getting yourself ready still works. Take the day before you have to be back in school or at work to get ready. Pack your bag. Throw out used notebooks, add a new, fresh one. Prepare a healthy lunch. Lay out the outfit you’re planning to wear. You can also think ahead to what projects you have to start or catch up on what lectures you’ll be doing and where you have to be.
This preparation will save you from a stressed-out morning where you wake up too late and confused that you’re not on vacation anymore but have to get up. With preparation, you can show up fresh and ready for the day.
2. Status updates are key!
Once back at your desk, classroom or lecture hall, it’s time to pick up where you left off. Get an overview of what needs to be done, what to tackle first and what is urgent. Make sure you take deep breaths when opening your mail inbox, so you don’t enter panic mode and get overwhelmed when emails start flooding in.
3. To do lists are your BFF
After getting an overview of the situation and what has to be done (and still remembering to breathe), pull out a notepad or a note document and write down your to do list. To do lists are a great tool for a simple, efficient overview. I personally find that writing to do lists and getting all the to dos out of my head and down on paper helps me not only to get an overview and status but also to figure out what tasks to tackle.
Once your to do list is put on paper, prioritize the tasks and check them off the list. There’s no better feeling!
4. Schedule your days
Going back to the daily grind after time off can be exhausting and overwhelming. Before you find yourself with days full of plans, work, school, meeting friends, working out, keeping a home and walking the dog, make sure you schedule your days and leave room for catching up and getting back into everyday life routines. One idea is to have a fixed day at work where you don’t schedule any calls or meetings, but dedicate the day to resetting and focusing on getting a head start on your to do list and unanswered emails.
Make sure to prioritize activities that give you energy rather than ones that leave you stressed out. If you know that working out, for instance, is imperative to your health, make sure you add workouts to your schedule.
Scheduling your days and calendar with the mindset of getting back on track at a healthy and non-overwhelming pace is key!
5. Be kind to yourself
Last but not least, it’s crucial that you remember to be kind to yourself. Getting into work and study mode after a long summer vacation (and lockdown!) is tough work. You might feel exhausted after long days in front of the screen, in meetings or trying to concentrate at a lecture. Cut yourself some slack, do things that make you happy, treat yourself to that yummy slice of cake, take breaks and, most importantly, remember to breathe.
You’ve got this! And in just a few days or weeks, you’ll be fully back in work mode, ready to put your best foot forward! I hope these tips ease your transition from lockdown and summer break to work and study. Chill and good luck!