Returning to work or school post-vacation can feel uphill. Yes, this Monday is a Tuesday, a four-day work week, but reviving routines for success, whether as student or 'employed', takes additional planning. Critical to moving the dial will be using tried-and-tested techniques for self-management. Self-management is the bedrock of any successful business or individual and yet only 1 of 10 managers are considered leaders or successes. A big part of the feelings we experience when returning to work are a loss of control over our days that we had when we were "O.O.O" so what better time to elevate our self-management skills and give us agency over what we do, how we do it, and where?
A handful of tips we hope you consider trying to alleviate the post-holiday angst include:
Working by Chronotype: Physiologically every human is on a relative 24-hour time cycle - rinse and repeat. Not all brains and bodies, not all humans, thrive at the same hour. This is, in part, due to surviving the species - differentiation is a massive part of what makes humans adaptable as a species. If you're most energized in the evenings, block out your most important projects for a few hours then and tackle lighter tasks throughout the day. If you're most energized in the morning, wake up and go!
The Pomodoro Technique: 'Pomodoro' translates to 'tomato' in Italian and this name gets its roots from the use of a kitchen timer, designed to look like a tomato, that was used to create this working design. To do this technique you work for 25 minutes and break for 10-12 minutes, completing this process three times consecutively. One the fourth go-around, you work for 25 minutes then take a longer break - between 20-30 minutes. This diversifies your hours and keeps your brain on its toes.
Brain Blinking: Essentially a reset, a 'brain blink' is a reminder to take pauses throughout the days, maybe, even, closing your eyes to shut down your mind. The purpose is to slow down what's going on in your mind and around you so that your brain can receive optimal flow of information without all that noise and overthinking. This is particularly useful for 'creatives' and a component of finding your 'flow' - which everyone aspires to, not matter occupation.
Burst Working: Burst working is similar to the Pomodoro technique in that it incorporates focused spurts (bursts) of work and then rest but burst working means taking longer 52-minute intervals of work followed by 12-17 minutes of rest, and continuously cycling this throughout the day.
Boundary-setting: Boundary setting is really important. While some companies have fully adapted post-pandemic to hybrid. flexible, or results-only work environments that give employees complete agency over their contributions and successes others are slower on the uptake. No matter where you study or work it will help you to thrive if you can make a list of boundaries that you need respected in order to successfully work. For some, this may be blocking out chunks of time throughout their calendars for personal care or to be with family or it may mean setting a status message on your Teams, Slack, or Outlook to show that your response time may be 'X'. Boundaries give you clear parameters to work within that uphold your values and life outside the office - what makes us human. By having boundaries clear for yourself and others you are more likely to yield results, for everyone, long-term.