Right now I am planning to return to work after 10 weeks at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with many other Australians, I’m unable to do the majority of my work from home so off to work I go. When you return to work yourself, try these 9 tips to get you in the right mindset to return to work.
This article is written with the pandemic in mind, but can be referenced whenever returning to work from any break.
For further tips to set up vital systems, priorities and routines to get organised at home before returning to work read “Returning to Work In The New Year?”
Be kind to yourself
It may take quite a lot of adjustment to get back into the regular work routine. At times you’ll be thinking about what you were doing at the same time last week or how much you miss your kids. So be kind and give yourself some grace (and time) to settle back in to work.
Look at it in a different light
Depending on the reason you have been away from work (maternity leave, COVID-19, injury or illness) re-frame the dreaded thoughts you may be having about returning to work and look at it in a different light. Ask yourself
how you want to be at work? and what do you want to achieve? and What do you want to spend more time doing and less time doing at work and at home?
Make a mini-vision board
Get crafty and create a mini-vision board to take to the office. Use words and images that remind you of your goals and intentions for your time at work. How do you want to show up? Who do you want to be at work? What’s the next thing on your bucket list to achieve? This will get you in the right mindset before you get in to the office and hold you there when work begins.
Start planning the next break
A great way to stay in the right mindset is to plan your next break away – no matter how big or small the break will be. A weekend away, a weekend at home to tackle some nagging tasks, or an oversea trip – get it in the calendar, start saving and smile every time you are at work working towards this next break. Need more help planning for your next trip? Read Make Space and Time for a Dream Holiday.
Feeling anxious? Get out your journal or notebook and write down the following:
- What are you looking forward to?
- List what you’re not looking forward to and examine each one any feelings behind them
- Write a list of things to do on the first three days of work – what are the top priorities?
- To help tweak your mindset and get you clear on your intentions include a list of 10 statements, in the past tense, that confirm your ideal week eg: I successfully ticked off my top 3 priorities each day this week or I was energised by lunch in the office with my work colleagues / friends on Friday.
Plan a special return lunch
Make a date for your team or work friends to get together in the first few days of returning to work. Head out to a restaurant or cafe nearby or BYO lunch to the staff kitchen. Fun dates in the diary are a great way to improve your mindset towards returning to work.
Don’t get bogged down in email
Set your intentions at the start of each day and focus on your engaging your top priorities, rather than the priorities of others that are in your inbox.
To go one step further, turn off all email notification and check email at set times of the day. This may not work for you if you are in customer service, so use your judgement on this one.
Take on a new challenge
To really shake things up, take on a new challenge either at work (put your hand up for a new project, join the administration board ) or personally (train for a 10k, start going to the gym each morning, commute to work instead of driving). A new challenge is a great way to put your mindset in the right gear.
Find a Mentor
Find a Mentor that you can talk to a few days a week as you return to work . Share your thoughts and feelings and ask them to help you define boundaries around work and family and to pinpoint priorities in your life. Outer accountability and big picture view from a mentor is invaluable. I loved this checklist Jenna Kutcher uses to choose a mentor.
These tips are to be used to tweak your mindset before you head back to work and to also keep you in your chosen mindset when you are back in the grind. Visit the list as often as you need to keep you in the right headspace.
I’d love to work with you to set clear boundaries between work and home and create priorities, processes and systems to implement these actions as effortlessly as possible. Give me a buzz or reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for an obligation free chat.
Who is Julie Cliff, Professional Organiser
Hi, I’m Julie Cliff, founder and owner at Space and Time. I believe being organised with your space and time can help you feel calmer, happier and less stressed. By being organised you can focus on the important things in your life: more time with your kids and family, write that novel or finally get those odd jobs around the house done. With more time to focus on yourself you can really start achieving your goals!