Sand in your Shoes and Emails in your Inbox

Posted by Dermot Crowley on 23rd July 2018

You might recall my last newsletter was written in the sunny glow of a holiday in Europe. Well, I’m back in Sydney, with sand in my shoes and emails in my inbox!

Returning home got me thinking about my ‘back-to-work’ process.  I like it because it ensures I start back in a focused and productive way.  Here’s what I do:

For starters, I always protect the first day back by making sure there are no meetings scheduled.  My only exception to this might be a few short informal catch ups with my team.  I know this may seem impossible for some, but protecting the first day is critical if you want to ensure you are working on the right stuff, and not just getting sucked back into busy mode. If a full day is not possible, protect at least the morning.

Next, I get myself up to date. This involves clearing my inbox to zero and updating my daily action plan. During this time I won’t be doing actual ‘work’.  Instead, I will be deciding what work needs my attention today, and what work I can forward schedule into the future.

Finally, I think about the bigger picture. My inbox and task list have generated a lot of actions for me, but are they the ones that will really have an impact over the long term? By taking some time to reconnect with my objectives, my projects and my key people, I am sure to generate additional actions that will drive important priorities forward.

Unfortunately, I work with many people who don’t have a consistent ‘back-to-work’ process in place.  For them, the benefits of the holiday quickly disappear as they get sucked into the chaos of their overflowing inbox, and hectic meeting schedule.

For me, day one back from holidays is about organising, prioritising and planning. It feels counter intuitive after being away, because your instinct tells you to just get stuck in and get stuff done. But the risk is you just end up being busy rather than truly productive.

So, when is your next holiday? Take some time now to block out the first day back. Protect this day fiercely, and I guarantee you will feel better, and be far more productive as a result.

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