How to Get Motivated When You Return from Vacation

Your much-awaited time away from work has finally come.  You’ve been counting down the days until you can fully “unplug” and live the blissful life of playing tourist, sitting on the beach, or perhaps binge watching Netflix for days.  Whatever you choose to do with your vacation, we all know how tough it can be to return after time away.  Here are a few ways you can get motivated once you return:

1. Actually unplug.  

It’s hard to miss something if you never let it go.  Don’t check your voicemail or work email while you’re out.  Leave an out-of-office reply up to explain that you will follow up with your correspondence when you return.  If you need to, designate a point person for a project so as to not hold up progress while you’re away.  If you take the opportunity to recharge by separating yourself both physically and mentally from work, chances are that you’ll return with more enthusiasm and gusto than when you left.

2. Take an hour to plan.

The day-to-day routine of meetings, emails, and to-do’s can take a toll on bigger picture items like setting goals or creating a strategy for your work.  Take an hour of your time to brainstorm.  What goals do you have for yourself personally and professionally?  What projects would you like to take on or see through?  What challenges are you currently facing and what are some ways to overcome them?  Giving yourself the space to think about these broader items is likely to invigorate you in new ways, as you step back to think about the meaning of your work and/or career path.

3. Block time on your calendar for the day you return.

Since you weren’t looking at those messages while you were out, you likely have a pile of them to go through. Set aside some time on your calendar to get through them all without getting interrupted.  You won’t be anxious about catching up on everything if you know you designated some time to get to it right away.


Studies have shown that employees who actually use their vacation time find more satisfaction in their work.  So relish in your vacation and enjoy the time away.  Then use these tips to come back with new energy to get the job done better than you would have before you left.