It’s 9.42am on a beautiful bright summer morning. My girls have only just had breakfast. I’ve been listening to a fascinating TED talk (which REALLY got my blood boiling but more on that another day). Whereas I was supposed to be preparing my first weekly newsletter after the school holidays.
However I’m finding it hard to get back into the work routine.
I love the summer holidays … I feel relaxed, refreshed and renewed. I love pottering in my garden. I love exploring the Kent countryside with visits to Lullingstone Park, Bewl Water and Ightham Mote. I know how much difference an extra 10 minutes with my children can make, so an extra 10 hours is even more powerful!
I love my work too. A successful coaching business requires determination, consistency, clarity and confidence. But it needs me to show up! In work mode! I need to write blog posts, have conversations with women, prepare my newsletter, organise Clear Confidence programme, finish my accounts, adjust the Back to Work Challenge, set the dates for my online classes and more.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only working mum finding it hard to get back into the work routine after a few weeks away so I thought I’d share what works for me.
1 – Set your date for your ‘return to work’
The best way to get back into the work routine easily and quickly involves pre-planning.
Before you take your summer break (or Easter or half-term), decide what date you will stop work and when you will ‘return to work’. Some business mums have very clear boundaries and do nothing for a set number of weeks. Other mums take their laptop on holiday and do a 2-3 hours every day.
I’m somewhere in the middle. I do as little as possible in August – no newsletters, no client coaching calls, no online classes. When I’m in the country, I stay somewhat connected on Facebook and Twitter and write the occasional blog post. As much as possible I schedule blog posts in advance.
When I was Head of IT at one of the top law firms, my boundaries were very black & white. When I’m on holiday, I’m on holiday. I don’t check email, I don’t do project work, I don’t listen to voicemail messages. Typically I’d be in a remote part of France or Spain with very limited internet access, making it easy for me (and my team) to stick to the boundaries. With the ever increasing availability of wifi access from just about anywhere in the world, it’s harder to cut yourself off completely.
However I do think it is good practice to take a complete break from the business (or work) for at least some days. This gives you an opportunity to relax, then refresh and renew your creativity.
If you didn’t pre-plan your ‘return to work’ date, just do it now.
When you set your ‘stop work’ and your ‘return to work’ dates, family and clients know what to expect. Plus for those workaholics among you (I can see you!) it gives you permission to not work until the official ‘return to work’ date.
2 – Gently does it
Gently does it when you get back into the work routine. Give yourself permission to not run full charge back into work mode.
One manager I worked with always came back from holiday on a Friday. He used that first day back to catch up on email. And even though he gave people the correct holiday dates, people tended not to disturb him because they’d assumed he would not be in the office until the Monday.
This can work for mums in business by giving your clients a ‘return to work’ day and a different (earlier) ‘return to work’ day to your family or your virtual assistant. This gives you time to skim through your email, catch up on anything you have missed, deal with the quick non-urgent things before you focus on the bigger projects on your client ‘return to work’ day.
Are you in danger of feeling overwhelmed before you even get started?
Check in with yourself honestly – does everything on your To Do list need to be there? Are you doing the important things first? If you feel that overwhelm is getting in your way of getting stuff done, you will love my guide on the 7 Smart Ways for the Busy Mum to Cope with Overwhelm and Get More Done. You can request your free copy here.
3 – Take care of yourself
When I say ‘take care of yourself’, I’m talking about your physical and mental wellness.
If you have been up late every night, drinking more alcohol or eating more ice-cream than usual, start to think about getting back into a more normal routine a few days before your actual ‘back to work’ date.
For 3 or 4 days in advance, go to bed a bit earlier to readjust your body sleep clock. Go to bed as if it were a ‘school night’ and get up in the morning as if it were a ‘school day’.
Good quality sleep is an important factor however think too about doing some physical exercise or being more active.
Eat your meals at the times you’d expect when you are in the school/work routine. It’s not just the meal timetable, it’s also eating and drinking the right types of food. I’m sure I don’t need to be any more specific than that however if you know you really ought to do something about a healthier lifestyle, you’ll love my friend’s Zestember, a zesty 30 day health challenge. You can find out more here.
How do you get back into the work routine?
Getting back into the work routine can be easier when you pre-plan and set your ‘return to work’ date in advance. Then it’s about easing in gently while taking good care of yourself.
I’d love to hear what works for you to get back into the work routine. Do leave me a comment.
(as for my newsletter, I still haven’t finished it!)
Finding it hard?
If you are finding it hard getting back into the work routine, I’m opening up my diary next week for conversations. A simple conversation with me might be all you need. Any questions you have about your own confidence or clarity on what to do next, I’ll help as much as I can in the conversation and if you want to take it further we can talk about that too.
Easy conversations, no pressure (after all you’ve just got the kids back to school) or perhaps you’re still on maternity leave and just need to share where you are with someone.
If evenings work better because the children are in bed or there’s somebody around to deal with the “I’ve lost Foxy” or “I’m thirsty” conversations, I do have a few 8pm slots too. Simply click here to find a time that suits.