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How to Shake Off Vacation Mode and Get Back Into Work Mode

In 2015 alone, there will be 17 holidays and 8 long weekends.

Add to that the industry average of 10 paid vacation leaves and you have the potential for almost 30 days of vacation.

While these breaks are great for keeping your sanity, it does present a problem when the vacation inevitably ends. On the last sun-filled day or mountain-breeze night, or even on the last night at home before you face deadlines and TPS reports again… creeping dread comes. You wish you could stay on vacation forever, and daydream about being a freelancer who works from the beach with a pocket wi-fi that magically always has signal no matter what far-flung tropical paradise or picturesque mountaintop you go to.

But, sadly, that is not the case. Unlike Winter, you know exactly when work is coming; no amount of dead Lannisters and Starks are going to stop it. Work is a necessity and you’re pretty sure your email inbox is full of things marked Urgent, Important, and other attention-grabbing subject lines. So how do you get back into the groove when you can barely remember what floor your office is on anymore?

Here are some things you can try:

1. Store your vacation gear

Put the bikinis in the laundry bin and store the luggage back in the closet. Vacation is over, you’re home, and work beckons. Stumbling over sand strewn flip flops will only remind you that you’re no longer sipping umbrella-topped cocktails in the sun.

2. Prepare your work stuff the night before.

Lay out the clothes you’re going to wear, switch from your swinging summer bag to your business bag, make sure you pack all your necessary gadgets for the first workday back. Since your brain is still on vacation mode, you could forget your work ID, paperwork, or that one cable that lets you charge your Android phone in an office full of iPhones.

3. Dress appropriately.

It can be tempting to show off a tan or dress like you’re still gallivanting on the beach, but try to restrain yourself. You may have been on vacation, but it’s back to work time so keep your outfit to the work-appropriate.

4. Return to your regular routine

The real key to transitioning back into work mode is treating your first day back like any other workday. If you typically go to the gym in the morning, do it. If you go to work early and go to a coffee shop to make your lists, do it. If you cook and pack your own lunch before work, do it.

There is a tendency to slack off after vacation because you’re still relaxed from taking it easy the last couple of days. By physically putting away your vacation and going back to your work habits, you’re signaling to your brain that playtime is over and its time to get serious. After all, you need to earn money for that next vacation you’re already planning.

Image source: Wikimedia