(2-minute read)

We all need time off and we should take it.

Time off is a service to yourself and your employer. Time off tempers burnout and allows us to look at our work with fresh eyes and an open, creative mind. When rested, it’s easier to see the big picture clearly, showcase ideas and offer constructive perspective.

That’s the theory. Unfortunately, the reality is that most of us return to a pile of messages and tasks. Already feeling behind, we dive right in, frantic to catch up and check items off an endless To Do list.


Our relaxed feeling and fresh perspective evaporate and we’re back to the grind.

It’s tempting to use post-leave energy to accomplish that long list of tasks. Tactical productivity is essential for moving projects ahead, but project work settles you quickly into old routines. Slow down your re-entry process to get the maximum value from the space created by time away.

Use your rested mind to look first at the systems, routines and challenges around you. What’s working? What can be improved?

Here are four suggestions for slowing down your re-entry and capitalizing on the perspective you’ve gained.

  1. Ignore the temptation to review Slack channels, To Do lists and emails for at least 1 hour. Instead, reconnect with colleagues.
  2. Don’t allow internal politics and what went wrong to rule your conversations with colleagues. Instead, ask about what went well while you were away and build the conversation from a positive vantage point.
  3. Examine the routines embedded in scheduled meetings. Where can opportunities for collective creativity be introduced?
  4. Use your fresh perspective to separate what’s urgent from what’s important. Identify who can help move the important along.

If we act on the list above, here’s the result:

We connect with colleagues in new ways.

We celebrate success and use that positive mindset to address the challenges ahead.

We change an outdated process or eliminate an unnecessary meeting.

We become more collaborative.

Sharing the gift of your rested and fresh perspective with colleagues infuses everyone with energy for the work ahead. Sharing your vacation energy encourages your colleagues to share theirs, helping everyone stay creative and productive.


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