5 Easy Ways to Beat Post-Vacation Slump

Feeling dread about the work waiting for you at the end of your vacation? We've all been there. Beat that post-vacation slump using these 5 easy steps, from building momentum to stay productive and even managing all your goals! Plus, get a free cheat sheet on how to stay productive and get more done in less time.
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You know how it goes: you’re just itching to get away from your everyday routine, then you have the time of your life halfway across the world (or just halfway across your city), and then–

You’re back all too soon and want nothing to do with anything that resembles work. That, my friend, is called the post-vacation slump.

But have no fear! Here, I walk you through my tried and tested tips for beating that post-vacation slump so that you can yet again hit the ground running.

Focus on your smaller projects

As of typing, I’ve recently returned from a two-and-a-half week trip around Chicago and New York.

I had such a bangin’ good time not doing anything that – suddenly being back in the grind with a horrible case of jet lag to boot – just the thought of doing anything that doesn’t involve me binge-watching TV shows on Netflix sounds like a horrible idea.

(Fun fact: I’d never even heard of post-vacation slump before – me being in this very slump made me aware that such a thing even existed.)

I knew that my to-catch-up-on list of Things To Do was much longer than my Things to Binge-Watch list though, and I also knew putting it off would do more harm than good. So I sat down with my massive list and, instead of letting the anxiety get the better of me, I narrowed down on two things:

First, the big projects.

When you’re just returning from a sweet, sweet vacation (even if it is work-related), you don’t want to be focusing on these big things. They’re intimidating and scary, especially if you’ve lost any and all mojo you had sippin’ sangria and what-else-have-you.

So instead focus on the smaller things.

I mean the small wins, the tiny victories. Do anything in your power to make that massive to-do list conquerable.

Even if it’s as simple as getting back to Inbox Zero or replying to emails from your boss. Maybe it’s checking back with your online community about how everything else is.

Whatever it may be, find some ridiculously simple thing to do to give you a quick win. After all, you need all the momentum you can get, and these tiny victories help you build that up.

Sort your tidings

Or in other words: prioritize.

Once you’ve conquered the small, easy-to-do tasks and have that tiny amount of momentum pumping through your veins, you can’t delay those big projects any longer. It’s one thing to put on your workout gear; it’s another to actually hit the ground running.

So do what I always love to do.

Look through all your big projects and tasks and see which ones you want to do first. (Yes, it’s that easy!)

Maybe you want to work on that sales page you were supposed to finish three weeks ago. Or design that Keynote presentation you were meant to show your boss rightaftervacationisnoproblemsir. Or send those cold emails to that venture capitalist you’ve been so nervous about contacting.

No matter how many things you have to do or how many big projects are hanging at the back of your head, review everything on your list. Ask yourself: what are the things you need to finish as soon as possible? what can wait until later? and what can just hang in the void until everything else settles down a bit?

Don’t let your post-vacation slump intimidate you into a corner! Face those tasks head-on.

Break down those big projects

Remember how the first thing I mentioned had to do with tiny victories? Now I want you to break down your big projects into tiny action steps too.

That way, you see that this big project isn’t so big and scary after all – especially following a vacation of recharging and doing-nothing. So that big deck you need to do? Maybe write an outline first. Or think of the design.

When writing that sales page – maybe you should think of the key elements. Or research on sales page layouts to use a cheat sheet.

Whatever it is, turn that big scary project into small, harmless, momentum-building mini-goals.

Because momentum is often key here. By building up momentum using whatever kind of fuel you have? That helps you achieve big projects one small goal at a time.

Besides, wouldn’t it be better to get stuff done – even if it is painfully slowly – than to stare at your to-do list and just let the anxiety build up?

Remember: post-vacation slump can be paralyzing once we’re back in the game. But you can always find ways to beat it before it beats you.

Don’t underestimate the power of your 10 minutes

If you’re coming across my blog for the first time, then you’d know I always, always tell people this: the power of your 10 minutes is immense.

At the top of my head, I can think of about 15 things you can do in 10 minutes or less. Whether it’s stuff for around the house, for work, or even for a side hustle or business, you’ll find no shortage of productive things to do. (Admittedly, I found that I waste precious time just thinking about what I could be doing then and there, so I’ve resolved to stop thinking and just do the thing.)

Automate, delegate, or eliminate

I wish I could say I’m the person who coined that phrase, but I’m not. (I first heard this line from Isabelle from LeapZone, who helps business owners scale their businesses into six or even seven figures.)

Still, the concept of Automate, Delegate, or Eliminate is one of my favorites to this day. And when you apply it to any post-vacation slump, it’ll probably save your head.

First, automate recurring tasks. Now that you’re back from your vacation, you’ve probably got a clearer head. And after spending all that time away from your work, are there any tasks you can let AI do?

I mention IFTTT as one of my favorite apps for automation (and there are a boatload of others that personally keep me productive too). But you can also look at Zapier – I’ve recently found myself using both for different purposes, so go experiment on what suits your needs!

Next, delegate tasks you don’t need to be doing. If you work in a team, maybe there’s somebody you can pass down a certain task to. Or if you’re a self-employed solopreneur, maybe you can hire a freelancer to take care of some things and give yourself breathing room.

One note for delegating: you might be tempted to give away tasks that seem to big for you to grapple with at the moment, but I do advise just delegating those tasks that are already too simple or routine for you, like routine admin work. After all, you’ll want more control over your big tasks, and delegating them might not be the best way to do that.

Finally, delete tasks that just don’t make sense. Have you ever heard this quote that goes:

Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left.

Steve Krug

While the author wrote that line in his book for web designers, the same is true for anything we do. I’m sure there are a myriad of tasks you don’t have to be doing at all. Imagine all that time you save, and even the anxiety you spare yourself from!

Take a good, long look at tasks that aren’t contributing to your productivity or growth. Can you live without them? Can you turn these tasks into better processes?

Beating post-vacation slump is intentional

At the end of the day, you’ve got to be intentional in your pursuit of productivity and goal-slaying. It’s normal when, following a vacation, you feel as if you can’t get back to work (instead of the opposite happening where you feel super refreshed and feel like the world is your oyster).

But no matter how daunting work looks post-vacation, you still have control over what you do from there.


Leave a comment:

Have you ever encountered post-vacation slump? What have you done in the past to beat it?

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Mica is the face behind everything you see at her blog, Mind of Mica. She champions the goal-getters, the dream-chasers, and the unapologetic hustlers who are out to make a difference – even if it’s in their own lives.