Feeling you need a holiday after your holiday – it’s a common sentiment and one connected to the angst we share in returning to our desks and the pile of unknowns that is surely awaiting us there.

Admit it, few of us saviour the return to the grind of work, however fulfilling the role we are in. So how do we make the most of it? Here are a few tips to easing yourself back into the pressure cooker of working life after a relaxing break.

Ask your boss to email you the day before you return!

It’s not exactly something you will look forward to, but getting a brief message with mission-critical priorities for your first day back can help your effectiveness and focus. Let’s face it, much of the fear of returning to work centres around concerns that never happen – this helps cut out unnecessary worrying.

Again, an early morning session with your manager on your first day back isn’t something to relish, but it can help too. Even a brief catch-up can give you a chance to regroup and focus on what is most urgent.

Do a buffer day

If it’s not too late – and think about it, it may not be – give yourself a buffer day in between your return home and going back to work. Catch up on laundry, grocery shopping and other chores. Your mind will be all the better for having been unburdened of these everyday tasks when you step inside the workplace.

Check your calendar

Look at your work calendar the day before you are back to work so you are not surprised by meetings that have snuck up on you. If you do discover unexpected surprises, look at them individually – are there some that need minimal preparation? Maybe others can be postponed to give yourself time to contribute to the best of your ability.

Clean up your desk

We don’t need to be told the importance of a clean, tidy desk – and never more so than when you’re just back from a break. Take a few minutes to sort through everything, get important documents labelled for follow-up and action, and bin those reports that are no longer relevant. Be ruthless in attacking that email inbox. This will help you feel better organized as you get into the swing of things.

Stay in stealth mode

Have that quick update meeting with your boss to focus on priorities, but leave it at that.  No need to broadcast your return across every department for a day or two. Give yourself space to catch up. (It’s called ‘strategic triage’!)

Oh, and don’t forget the office chocolates!