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After Vacation

Career + How to Get Back to Work After Vacation

Who loves vacation, but hates the first day after work? SAME. Even if you love your job, getting back to work can be very hard after time away. A little work before you leave and the willpower to get out of bed earlier, and you can be on your way to getting back in the swing of things in no time after vacation!


How to Get Back to Work After Vacation.

After Vacation

Before You Leave

1. Make a Todo List

Instead of relying on yourself to remember everything from before your vacation, make a list of things that need to happen when you get back. Take notes on any meeting you might have, and do a brain dump on any and all projects you may have. It’s the easiest way to make sure you don’t lose too much of vacation brain.

2. Clean Your Desk

Seriously the worst thing to come back to is a cluttered and unorganized desk. Instead, try to organize everything before you leave, and have a spot for coworkers to set things for you that you missed when you left.

3. Schedule or Delegate Your Important, Daily Responsibilities

Talk with your team and supervisor, and try to schedule or delegate all of your responsibilities before your leave. If you have clients or customers who would regularly rely on you, ensure they will still be take care of!

4. Set Your Out of Office Email

One of the worst parts of leaving is the emails. People who might need an answer immediately will email you, or you’ll come back and take an entire day to dig out of your email. Set up an out of office email and give them someone else to contact in emergency, or at least tell them when you’ll be back.

*Pro Tip: Set your out of office for a day after you get back, so you have a day to get reacquainted  at work. If you reply to anyone early, you’ll look like a rockstar!

After Vacation

When You Get Back

1. Try to Get in A Little Early

It’s really tempting to sleep in as late as possible, but try to get in as early as possible and have a good, protein filled breakfast. By getting in early, you’ll have to time to prepare for any meetings you might have that morning, to check in with your co-workers, and to see if there are any urgent emails that have to be answered right away.

Take some time to answer questions about your vacation, catch up with friends, and then dive back in.

2. Do Not Look at Your Email Right Away

It’s important to not begin to sift through your email right away. Look at what you have to do, and take it from there. If your main job is emails, it might be easier to just do a quick glance. As the week progresses, block off 15-30 minutes time slots to go through your email and prioritize anything that needs to get done.

3. Turn Off Your Vacation Response

Do this in the afternoon instead of right when you get in. It’ll give you time to sort through everything without even more emails coming in.

4. Start In On Your Todo List & Add Anything You Need To

Since you’ve already checked in with your co-workers, add anything that needs to be added (or take away anything) and start to prioritize based on information you just received.

5. Know When to Stop

It can be tempting to try to tackle everything in one day, but it can’t always be done. Set yourself a stopping time for the day that you stick to. It may be an hour after you normally would or even two, but in order to preserve some of the rest that you got on vacation, you need to stop.

6. Get Back Into Your Routine ASAP

One of the worst parts of getting back from vacation is being out of your routine. Do what you have to in order to get back on it as soon as you can. You’ll thank yourself!


What do you do in order to get back to work after vacation? Anything that I missed? How many cups of coffee does it take you to get back?



More career advice:

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome Everyday

How to Be a Beginner & How to Learn

Informational Interview Questions 

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  • I’m definitely going to need these tips as school starts in a few weeks which means I have to teach!

    • That’s exciting! Let me know if any of these apply to you, I know that teaching is a whole different ball game!

  • I love these tips- I just got back from my big summer trip a few weeks ago and I’m still getting into my routine haha! Love your tips on out-of-office emails!


    • Thank you! I wish we were taking a big summer trip, but there’s always next year!

  • This post makes me glad I’m not in the official working world yet, I’m not excited for digging through tons of emails! When I came back to my retail job after vacation my biggest struggle was remembering my lock combination haha

    Lauren //

  • haha i was struggling with exactly this last week!! IT’s so rough getting back into the swing of things!

    • Isn’t it? I always have a hard time concentrating that morning right after a trip!

  • I struggle to schedule vacations because I know how overwhelming it will be when I get back! These are great tips to overcoming the drag of getting back into a routine after a break.

    • Girl, you need vacays! They are so good for your mental health, I hope that this will encourage you to go on one!

  • These are all great tips! Getting back into the swing of things after time off is always difficult, but if you’re organized and have a plan for how to tackle everything once you’re back – you’ll be able to get back into your routine faster 🙂

    Kristen |

  • These are all so important! I’m about to go on vacation so my VAs are going to handle some of the day to day stuff for me.

  • Allison Ellzey

    Yes! Getting to work early after being gone for any period of time is seriously one of the best things you can do! That and to-do lists keep me on track!

    • I totally agree, all of the prioritized to-do lists 🙂

  • thesophiadiaries

    All amazing tips! I would say, take a break when necessary is one of the more important things 🙂

    • It is so important! No need to push yourself super hard!

  • I definitely needed to read this today! Lists are THE way I get back into the swing of things.

  • mckenna bleu

    ugh going back can seem awful after vacay but I love these tips that really turn it around!

  • Oh my goodness, this is going to be SO hard for me in September haha I am off for 3 months now and I am loving it a littttttttle too much. I think coming in early is a great key point. I usually come in an hour earlier than usually my first week back to teaching to get settled. It’s a little crazy!

    • My friends who are teachers were just telling me the same thing! I love going in early because I just feel like I’m ready for the day!

  • Going back to work after a vacation can feel like the weight of the world, leaving yourself a clean desk and a manageable to do list can make a huge difference though!

    • But really that’s how I feel some days haha! Thanks Jordyn!

  • Great tips, it’s so hard! I usually make a to do list on the flight home to get my thoughts all in a row.