Happy New Year, friends! I came back to work over a week ago, but am just starting to feel like I’m back into the swing of things. The truth is, the holidays are a lovely rest, but it can take a while to switch off “vacation brain” and get back to focussed efficient work. Here are some strategies that I use to get through the mountain of tasks that accumulated over the holiday break.

  1. Don’t give in to the email loop! I’ve mentioned this in a previous blog post, but I’ll say it again; pause your inbox! It’s best to reply to emails from the oldest to newest, but as soon as you start those replies, you will inevitably start to get responses coming in. I am always tempted to abandon my system of oldest to newest and reply to these replies, so I pause my inbox until it’s cleared out and then unpause it the next time I have an hour to dedicate to emails.

  2. Pomodoro! The pomodoro technique is something I’ve used since my second year of university. The method is simple. Work for 25 minutes then take a 5 minute break, repeat that cycle four times and then take a longer break (15-30 minutes). This is a great technique when you have a bit project you need to get through.

  3. Move on your breaks! When you’re taking a break, whether it’s long or short, try to move! Walk over to the kitchen or break room to grab a glass of water on that five minute break and leave your building for a brisk stroll on your lunch break! Movement will help you focus when you get back to work and will help you with your new year’s resolution while you’re at it

  4. Use the “two minute rule”. Entrepreneur Steve Olenski uses the two-minute rule, which means that any task that can be completed in two minutes or less should be done immediately. So reply to that quick email, file that document, and you won’t have to waste time coming back to it later.

  5. Go easy on yourself. You’re easing back into things. Our brains and bodies might need a little time to get back to the efficient productive machines we were before, so give them that time and be patient with yourself; you’ll get back there.

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