Three ways to reduce stress and get back to work after a holiday

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It's that time of year where holidays come into our schedules and time off looms as the double edged sword of relaxation and stress. Do you have a process for making your time off more relaxed and still being productive when you get back to work? Here's three easy steps to take before you leave for a holiday.

1. Fill your first day back.

Make sure you plan out your first day back before you leave for the holiday. The worst thing for you coming off vacation euphoria is spending the morning trying to figure out what you need to do. Filling the schedule of your first day back with productive activities means you'll be able to pick up with being productive without losing time processing new items. Once you've made some progress then you can begin processing again.

2. Avoid meetings on your first day back.

Meetings suck the productive lifeblood out of us. Try your best not schedule meetings for your first day back and especially not the first morning. Keep the time to regain your momentum and return to your flow. Knowing you don't have to spend your first day sitting in meetings will reduce your stress both during and after the holiday.

3. Check when an email was sent before prioritizing.

If you have to check your email or just can't help yourself, check when the incoming email was sent before prioritizing when you will handle it. In many cases the emails are sent by people clearing their inboxes before they leave for the holiday. Just because a couple of days pass because of a holiday doesn't mean the email should receive any more urgency than one sent at the end of the day the day before.

Holidays are our chances to clear our heads, refocus, and unwind from work so we can be more productive. Short circuiting this benefits no one, especially yourself.

So productive people...enjoy your holidays!