4 Steps to make your first day back a success

November 23, 2021
Level Up

Last week, I did something I haven't done in over 2 years. I took the week off and 99% disconnected from work.

It coincided with my 33rd birthday and my sister's first trip to Dubai, so I wanted to make a conscious effort and really be in the moment.

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

And it felt pretty good. No, not pretty good, it felt AMAZING. I didn't realise how the incessant Slack notifications illicit a Pavlovian response of consistently (constantly?) checking your phone, or how freeing suddenly having headspace can be.

Nothing like a bajillion emails and Slack messages to hurtle you back to reality, though. First days back are always going to be a little stressful - you're catching up on the last week and focussing your mind on what is coming up, all whilst grappling with your brand new, shiny to do list.

I like to take it in bitesize chunks -


It's tempting to jump straight back into work, but take a moment to centre yourself.

Keep your out of office on and your Slack notifications off.


Go through your emails and Slack messages. Sort them into three buckets -

  1. to be archived
  2. to be actioned
  3. to be snoozed

Add everything that needs to be actioned to your to do list. I use Notion to track mine


Look at your to do list. Pick the non-negotiables but be realistic - can you really get through that 30 point list?


You're ready. Out of office off, notifications enabled, your favourite playlist on.

Let's go!

The process isn't always perfect, my realistic to do list nine times out of ten is anything but, but limiting the noise for the first few hours means that my brain can switch back into work mode calmly.

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