How to Get out of Holiday Mode and Back into a Good Work Routine

One week after New Year’s Eve was my first attempt of restarting the “self-motivation engine” after stalling dead in the middle of the road as soon as my family and I had left for our short end of year road trip.

We had a really great time away with our friends and their kids to a small beach town where there were no alarms, no looming project deadlines and for the most part, no laptops. (I couldn’t help sneaking in a few minutes checking my affiliate sales!).

But soon after the fun was over I was eager to get back into my usual work routine where I put in on average around 2 hours of work each day on my online businesses.

Although I know I needed the time away from my laptop to spend with my family to really unplug and reset my brain, each time I take a much-needed break like this (which is not as often as I should), I’m always left feeling guilty…

Like I’m being lazy.

The Worst Part About Great Holiday’s – Getting Back To Reality

In the past, I’ve found one of the most difficult parts of overcoming the first day (or days) lag is knowing what to focus on when it comes time to get back into it.

There had been days upon days wasted in the past when I just couldn’t seem to pick up from where I’d left off.

Staring at the screen then eventually drifting into the bottomless pits of Facebook scrolling or YouTube video binging.

(I bet you just had a… “yep, been there” moment, am I right?)

Of course, if you’re anything like me being almost obsessive at times with the need to get at least one thing done each day for your business, you’ll be feeling like there’s something wrong.

Like you’ve lost your “spark”.

Well, strangely enough, I don’t see this as being a bad thing.

In fact, It’s actually quite a good indicator that your break has been sufficient to “unplug and reset” your mind if your first time sitting back down to work you find yourself lost.

Just know that the “lost” feeling will pass, and it’s a good sign that you’re well rested and ready to go!

From YouTube Bingeing Back to Work Mode

So how do we go from Facebook scrolling and YouTube bingeing to actually getting shit done?

I hate to be the bearer of bad news to you but there really isn’t any quick fix.

Sorry guys.

But before you start composing a scathing email to me for wasting your time, let me tell you that there are ways of preventing the lost feeling from happening again.

Prevention Over Cure

There is no specific one-size-fits-all task that’s a cure all for everyone.

Each person’s business will be different from the next therefore making what they should and shouldn’t be doing to get back into a good routine relevant to the individual.

But there are a few hacks or good practices to follow that can be universal to most entrepreneurs.

As any health professional will tell you; prevention is better than cure. This saying runs true in entrepreneurial business practices just as well as it does to help avoid health problems.

Planning Ahead

Planning your off time in advance is key to preventing burnout.

Before you take the time off from your business or side hustle, create a snapshot of your businesses current setting.

The idea here is to relieve your brain from the gruelling task of short term memory recall when it’s filled with (if you’ve had a sufficient break), fun memories from the time you’ve spent away not working.

There are a number of different methods you could use to take a business snapshot but If you haven’t done this before I’d suggest combining as many as possible to ensure you find at least one that works.

Each person will have a different way of recording their business snapshot depending on what works for them.

Here are three methods that I’ve tested and used in the past and still use today.

Images and Video

If you’re a creative type of person who likes working with images rather than words, take a screenshot or screencast video of your last day or last couple of days work to watch back over when you return.

By doing this you can activate visual triggers that may spark that “ah-hah!” moment that you need to get going again once you come back from your break.

A good practice while recording your screencast is to give yourself notes or instructions within the video or screenshot for specific important things you want to remember or perhaps why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Jing is a free software for Mac and PC that’s super easy to use for screenshot and screencasts.

Daily Diary

Something that I’ve done in both my 9-to-5 job since I started working in my apprenticeship and also in my business is keeping a record or diary of each task that was of significance for that day.

If you’re a list gal or guy like yours truly, this is definitely worth giving a try.

This helps you look back at any point of time to remember what you were working on.

I use Evernote as my “second brain” as I can dump a whole bunch of data into the app in multiple formats such as voice, text, web pages and attachments that I can search and recall on at any time. Even the text within scanned items is searchable.

Evernote sapmle

Pen and Pencil

One good memory jogging method I often use as well as creating typed notes is writing using a pen or pencil.

Write a letter or note for yourself before you go on your break to read over on your first day back.

This is a great memory jogger as you can often remember more specific items about what you were doing at the time of writing by reading your own hand writing later on compared to if you were to read what you’ve typed.

You’re Not Superhuman!

If you think you’re superhuman and can work endlessly and tirelessly until you’ve reached your goals then kudos to you.

That used to be me before I hit a number of brick walls that sent me almost as far backwards as I’d come forwards.

The key to avoiding burnout and minimising the time wasted getting back into a good work routine is to plan time off from work in advance.


QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: How often do you take breaks and what are the tell-tale signs to look for that you’re heading for burnout? Leave your comments below.