Getting Back to Work

Tomorrow I return to my day job after having two weeks off. I’ve been able to spend a good amount of that time out in the sunshine, either taking long (hard!) walks or just sitting in the garden.

I’ve also had additional time to spend on my goals, hobbies and stuff for the blog, plus a bit of decluttering.

It has been great to totally disconnect from work since this year has been hard, even though I’ve had what some would call a luxury of working from home and not having to travel around the country as usual. (It’s all about choice though, isn’t it?)

This is also an (unexpected) busy period so I know I’m going to have to “reconnect” quickly when I switch on the laptop on Monday morning.

Happily. as I was decluttering my phone, I came across an article I had bookmarked for reading later that should help with just this thing.

Reattaching to Work

We are all encouraged to disconnect from work by switching off email, turning off phones and maybe even having a “clear the desk” ritual. For some, this can be a quick shut off, for others, it may take time to stop thinking about the events of the day and all the things that didn’t get done.

Surely then, that means it must take some time to reverse that and get back into working mode? Over the years, it has been clear to see that most people struggle to get started on the real work for at least 30 minutes after arriving at the office, and often longer.

What then is the answer?

Tips From The Researchers

In an article published in the Greater Good Magazine, Jessica Lindsey reflects on research that suggests that taking time to consider the work we do and why we do it leads to greater focus and also greater engagement in that work.

In order to get that motivation in the morning, we should ask ourselves three questions (it looks like four to me, too):

  1. Why does the work I do matter to me? How does my work impact the lives of others? 
  2. Who are the people—both at work and in my personal life—who support me and my professional success?
  3. What would I like to focus on today? 

The idea is that having a good reason why you are doing something gives you more motivation to get on and do it.

If you are working in the presence of others, you might want to try this before you get to work – say on the commute or whilst you are making that first brew of the day.

My Strategy

Having read the article, it has given me confidence that I already have some good plans in place to prevent the possibility of getting stuck in an email black hole and ending with a less than productive day.

The first two in the list above may seem a little bit woo-woo (I’m probably with you on that) but are worth giving a try if you need a bit of positive self talk and a good reason to get on with it. They may also be especially important if you are not living your dream right now.

Similarly, if your role is task based or transactional, such as a bus driver, checkout assistant or payables clerk, you may have little option but to focus on a specific thing, so those first two questions will help with your reason why and help with the reconnection.

The third question, however, to me is quite pivotal to how my day will go. Knowing exactly what needs to be done and when means I can make a decision as to whether I am chatting on Teams or putting myself on do not disturb. Answering this question will definitely give me a mental connection to the job.

I’ve already blocked out time in my calendar to meet with key people to catch up on progress, as well as follow up anything that arises out of step 3, below.

Here’s my plan to reattach:

  1. Review my bullet journal to remind myself what I was working on previously and the key projects (this is part of my morning routine)
  2. Check what “must attend” meetings are in the calendar and whether any new requests can be declined
  3. Decide which unread emails I need to review as a priority. This will be based on either who sent them or the subject matter.

Hopefully, this will prevent getting sucked into the email black hole and ensure something of a productive and engaged first day back.

How do you “reattach” to your work day? Do you ever consider any of these questions?
Share in the comments below.

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Until next time, remember, if the excess baggage is weighing you down, you can always leave it in lost luggage.

Best wishes,

PS. Have you taken part in the poll yet? Find it in the sidebar or below this post.

I’d love to hear your story, so start a conversation on Facebook, catch up with me on Twitter and Instagram, or drop me an email via the contacts page.

Ear Worm: Me, I Disconnect From You, Gary Numan & Tubeway Army

wp-embed-aspect-16-9 wp-has-aspect-ratioI couldn’t get this one out of my head whilst writing this post – even though it’s about disconnecting!

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