For many of us the 3-day weekend means facing a 4-day work week… are you comin’ up short?
Your hair may be brushed, but your mind’s untidy.
You’ve had about seven hours of sleep since Friday.
No wonder you feel that lost sensation.
You’re sunk from a riot of relaxation.
— Ogden Nash
If this week your Monday is a Tuesday, then most likely you’re facing a 4-day work week with a 5-day to-do list! Are you:
- Soooo glad to be back?
- Rarin’ to go?
- Too tired to care?
- Or, so far behind that it just doesn’t matter?
Determined to shoehorn 5-days’ work into a 4-day sneaker? Beware! You’re fighting a losing battle:
Most employees require a day and a half to get back to normal efficiency levels after a vacation, according to OfficeTeam, a global temporary placement firm specializing in administrative and office support.
So much for productivity and morale… Maybe three day weekends are a bad idea after all. Maybe one vacation day isn’t worth the consequences of a short week. I mean, what’s the point – if we have to work twice as hard before we take a day off and then we end up working late the next four days – it hardly seems a fair tradeoff.
But hold on, before you ban 3-day weekends, consider this:
There is something about getting away from everyday routines that refreshes us and gives us the ability to tackle problems with new energy – even when the getaway doesn’t go as planned. It isn’t so much what kind of vacation we go on, just so long as it is different from our normal activities. Novel experiences change us. They help our brain grow and learn new paradigms that can be applied in other situations.
— Dr. Don Kopf
So if we’re not going to ban 3-day weekends, then, what can we do to cope with long to-do lists in a short week? Maybe it’s time to consider a new approach to working-around those 3-day weekends.
How to Work-Around 3-Day Weekends
If your return-day-mantra goes something like this: I need another day off…I want another day off…I deserve another day off… Then it’s time to reconsider your work-to-vacation-to-work routine.
And of course, I’ve found a great resource to get you started: I love self-styled “Chief Happiness Officer,” Alexander Kjerulf’s five tips for transitioning back-to-work. I’ve included three in this post – for the rest, visit his blog at PostiveSharing.com.
Kjerulf’s work-around wisdom for making the most of your vacation days and your back-to-work week:
…invariably the vacation ends and you go back to work, and that transition can be a little rough… here are [some] tips to help you stay happy when you get back to work.
1: While you’re away, get away
Don’t take the company mobile and laptop on vacation. Don’t check your voice mail and email.
The point of a vacation is to get away and go to a different mental space, and if you’re preoccupied with work, chances are you’ll both enjoy your vacation less and get less relaxation out of it.
2: Let yourself get behind
When you get back from your vacation, you will invariably have fallen behind and have a lot of work to catch up on. There will be a ton of voice mails, emails and tasks that need your attention. THAT’S FINE!!! It’s unavoidable and it’s not your fault.
Look at it this way: If you can leave the company for two weeks and there’s no work waiting for you, you’re not really needed there.
So don’t expect to have a clear desk on your first day back – allow yourself to be behind and to catch up steadily.
3: Start with some easy tasks
When you get back to work, don’t immediately throw yourself at the toughest, hairiest most complicated tasks you have. Ease into work by doing something easy and simple – something you know you can do. Once you’re back in full swing you can go at the tough tasks.
Uh huh… he’s got the right idea – you won’t get the full benefit of your three days off if you insist on returning to a hyper-4-day stint, so ease out and ease in – give yourself some space so you can pace yourself as you re-enter your work week.
No one can get inner peace by pouncing on it.
— Harry Emerson Fosdick
If you pounce on it, it goes “poof!” so sneak up on it instead – one thing at a time, knock that to-do list into shape and hold on to your vacation’s reward of inner peace.
Learn to pause… or nothing worthwhile will catch up to you.
— Doug King