Vacations and long weekends are such a great way to break free from routine. It allows us time to relax and destress. Reflect on our lives and career. Spend time with loved ones and just slow down. It’s truly a great way to mentally and physically be at peace. But on the last day, we cringe thinking how tomorrow we get back to work and all the fun and relaxing ends.

It doesn’t have to be such a sad and dull thought. Why ruin your last day of vacation or long weekend feeling so blue. A few months back I wrote about how you can be productive during your holidays. So if you’ve been productive during your holidays you could channel your rested mind and positively impact your return to work. Try these tips when you’re getting back to work and you’ll find yourself in a happier mood.

1. Be Positive

Most of us go back to work from a vacation with the feeling of “oh no, here we go again. Back to reality”. On the surface it may feel like a downer, but then isn’t this the job you enjoy? Only it dreams would we be able to vacation all the time. The reality is that we have to work for it. So instead of seeing it as a negative, enjoy the great moments you had during your time off and get into work with a positive vibe. You’re now refreshed and ready for more exciting and challenging times at the office. It won’t be too long until you’re figuring out where your next vacation will be or what you’ll be doing over the next long weekend.

2. Start Early

Start the morning early so you can ease into the day and get a head start before everyone else arrives. That’s when you’ll get cornered with high priority tasks that require most of your time. And once you start working on those, you’ll realize the day flew by and you got nothing else accomplished. Starting your day early can help you align your thoughts, tasks and priorities so you can best utilize time on your first day back.

3. Plan For Your Return

Often when people are about to go on vacations or are counting down the days to a long weekend they’ll skim through their last few days of work. Productivity tends to decline and you put off tasks till when you return. Sure you’ll try to get done the deadline intensive tasks but all others are left hanging till you return. That’s why it’s important to make a note of all those tasks that you’re leaving unattended. When you return to work, pick up where you left off so that you’re on top of things.

4. Get Debriefed

There’s a good chance that while you were away getting much needed rest and relaxation, there was someone in your team covering for you. It’s a good idea to seek time with them so that they can debrief you on what went on during your absence. There could be several or little that’s changed or occurred. Nonetheless, getting up to speed on things will help you get into the mindset of what you need to jump into first.

5. Don’t Chase Your Emails

One of the most common phenomenon is a mailbox full of emails waiting for your return. That’s where most of us start our day when we settle into work – going through emails one at a time, prioritizing, catching up on things, responding and so on. This alone can be a time consuming activity, particularly if you’re a well-connected member of the company based on your job responsibilities. Pace yourself when going over emails so that you’re also interacting with people and working on things that require your attention. Try spreading out time spent attending emails during the course of the day.

6. Be Realistic

Setting high expectations of yourself on the first day of your return can leave you drained at the end of the day. By the time you get home you’ll wish you never returned from your vacation or that the long weekend never ended! It’s wise to be realistic and know that you can’t do it all on the first day. Break things down for yourself so that it’s spread over the week or even the next few weeks. Prioritizing tasks will be pivotal to help you design what you’ll be doing in the next few days. Try not to admit defeat that you didn’t do it all. Instead, stay optimistic and realistically approach your tasks.

7. Recreate Your Position

Even though no resource is indispensable, talented individuals operate in such a way within their teams that make them highly relied upon. So over time you, as well, may have created a persona about yourself as the team’s “go-to person”. But while you were away there’s a good chance your team, who was covering for you, was able to manage things smoothly. This isn’t necessarily a threat – more so, it’s an opportunity for you. Through your absence your boss may just realize that there are others in the team who can deliver what you are capable of. And that presents an opportunity for you to display qualities and skills that are beyond your current role. That’s right, I’m hinting at more challenging responsibilities and enhancements in your job scope. It may even lead to a promotion in the future, if you capitalize on this opportunity.

How do you charge yourself up to tackle your first day back from a vacation or long weekend? I’d love to hear your tips and techniques.