Logging back into work after taking time off can be daunting and suck up the first hours/days being back. These are some of the ways I’ve found to reenter without falling into the email abyss:
- Block off a couple one-hour breaks on your calendar, dedicated to going through your inbox and prioritizing your ‘re-entry list’
- Start from the beginning- scroll your inbox to when you first were out and begin skimming emails and flagging/ starring emails to go back to (this is always a bit enjoyable as there are a lot of junk emails you can quickly erase to bring that inbox down).
- From there, make your way through the flagged emails and keep a list (I still have a notebook I use for everything) of which to respond to first based on priority and importance.
- Then use the time you’ve blocked to address and start resolving the emails/needs in the order necessary. The fun part of this is that you’ll often find a lot has been done by your amazing team while you were out!
- The important thing here is to manage the ‘new work’ coming in while addressing what’s been waiting in your inbox, which is why calendar blocks help so you can stay focused vs. trying to toggle which can be distracting and counter productive.
On the flip side- when someone on your team or a client is out, here are ways to correspond with them so they can have a smoother transition back to work…
- If there’s something you need someone to look at, best to schedule when you send the email so it doesn’t get buried. For instance, schedule it to send at 11:00am on the day they’re back.
- You can also send an email the morning they’re back with a quick list of things while they are out and call out any priorities or big things needing their attention.
- It’s also helpful to send a calendar invite to connect with them 1:1- ask how their break was and go through in person what happened while they were gone. Extra points for offering to help and take anything off their plate while they get settled in.