How to Get Back in the Groove After a Break from Work






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The past couple of weeks have been rough for many of us - we all went back to work after a glorious break.

Sure, we were refreshed and excited for a New Year, but the fact remains that it is very difficult to go back to work after a vacation. This is true for those of us who work in the traditional world and, from my experience, especially true for those of us with entrepreneurship projects.

For some reason - though we may feel refreshed - it's difficult to focus and get back in the groove. I walked into work last Tuesday morning and it was like I'd completely forgotten what I do. I had very little motivation despite the fact that I actually like my job (how many people can say that, right?).

So how do we get back in the groove after a break? How do we buckle down and focus? Below you'll find a few tips to get you started.

1. Shift your perspective.

There's no reason we should hate waking up in the morning. Actually, the very fact that we're alive and could wake up in the morning is enough to put a smile on our faces.

Unfortunately, however, sometimes work is just that - work. Even those of us who enjoy our work on most days sometimes find ourselves begrudgingly going to the office. It doesn't mean there's something wrong with us - after all we're human and our emotions change - it just means we need to shift our perspective a bit.

Rather than dreading the thought of going to work and focusing on the negative - start focusing on the positive aspects of it. Best-selling author and motivational speaker Gabrielle Bernstein recently wrote a post on The Daily Love entitled Spirit Junkie's Top 12 Tips for Happiness in 2012. In it she emphasized the importance of changing your perspective:

Tip 2: Change the conversation. Make a resolution to change your dialogue about fear and negativity. When you think, talk and act from a negative place, you attract negativity into your life. Commit to a new conversation. Begin the New Year talking and thinking about what you love about your life rather than replaying the same old negative story. You might just be surprised by the results.

(You can find out more about Gabrielle Bernstein, her story and how she began shifting her perspective on life by watching her Authors@Google Talk. )

2. Make a to-do list the night before.

I have found that making a to-do list the night before helps me clear my head and be organized when I walk into work in the morning. It gives me a starting point instead of just trying to sporadically figure out what I have to do when I get in there.

Also, I try to put no more than 3 big to-dos for the on the list. These are the three things that MUST get done that day when I'm not conducting interviews (i.e. invoices, calling candidates for a second interview, scheduling interviews). It ensures that you won't feel overwhelmed by task overload and also leaves room for all the little things that pop up throughout the day - like running a credit card or writing receipts.

3. Don't multi-task.

My boss recently showed me an article that was published in The Miami Herald back in August. It was all about how multi-tasking saps creativity. Having grown up in a generation where multi-tasking meant you were efficient, she was kind of in shock. However, it didn't take her long to realize the truth behind the concept.

If you spread yourself out to thin you end up half-assing everything. You also miss out on actually be present in what you are doing - causing stress and chatter in the brain.

Focus on doing just one thing at a time. Leo Babauta, the mastermind behind Zen Habits, puts it wonderfully when he states:

If you’re washing a dish, do it slowly, and feel every sensation. If you’re eating a fruit, taste it, feel the textures, be mindful of your hunger or lack of it. If you’re writing something, pour your heart into that writing, become the writing, inhabit the words.

Just do.

(P.S. I highly recommend reading the entire post, The Zen of Doing. It's a goody, I promise!)

4. Work for an hour, take a break.

I started incorporating this technique this week after reading about the importance of taking breaks from work. After a while of working our minds simply need to rest. I have personally found that getting some work done for an hour  at a time and taking 10 minute breaks in between helps me manage the to-do list more efficiently.

5. Do things you actually WANT to do when you're not in the office.

I recently wrote a post about how it's easy to get stuck in a mundane routine when we're working. I emphasized how many people live their lives doing the same thing everyday without really feeling fulfilled. This generally tends to put us in a horrible mood as we go day in and day out without any change.

Make it a point to dedicate some time to the things YOU want to do. You're not in the office or slaving away on your laptop 24 hours a day - so take advantage of the time you have! Maybe you'd like to take up a dance class, use your time to start exercising or do something as simple as write in a journal. Whatever it is, make sure to dedicate some time to yourself and things you would like to experience.

Going back to work doesn't have to be a dreadful experience. With the right balance you can enjoy your day and even get some things done!

What do you do to get back in the groove?

Image via Chris_J

Amanda Abella

About Amanda Abella

7 Responses to “How to Get Back in the Groove After a Break from Work”

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  1. Ada says:

    I needed to hear this right about now. I threw myself back into work last week (and did quite well at it) but I am struggling to get this week off the ground. Will have to put some of your tips in action!
    Ada recently posted..The Wild Rice Venison Sausage RecipeMy Profile

    • Amanda Abella Amanda Abella says:

      That’s how I was last week! I wanted to shoot myself in the foot because my coworker was out sick and I was running around as usual. The changing your conversation part really works when you remember to implement it :)

  2. Dr. Ben says:

    Excellent post, Amanda – will definitely share this! Very practical tips in key areas that affect virtually everyone – and love the tip on “Changing our conversation” for 2012 and the example from ZenHabits. Glad to “meet” you and your work!
    Dr. Ben recently posted..Navigating the Digital World with Erik Qualman and Digital LeaderMy Profile

  3. Stephen says:

    This was perfect. I was off from work for about a week due to illness. I to enjoy my job, but exactly like you said I felt like I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. Although it seemed a daunting task with the head congestion and cold medication (the cloud nine factor was in full effect), this definitely brought me back to earth and “get back in the groove.” Muchas Gracias!


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