Coming back to work after taking a vacation can be a daunting experience. There is the tense anticipation of opening up your inbox to 200+ emails, there are multiple distractions in the office and people are pulling you every which way to get their agendas started.
I think that all leaders know intuitively that they need to have important conversations and take important actions to kick off their year well. But they make a huge mistake when they don’t do what I believe to be one of the most important things when coming back to work.
That’s locking in Buffer Time, which is purposeful time used to smooth out and clarify the next period of activity. In other words, it’s setting aside the first day of your work calendar to clarify what your actions will be over the next week, month and quarter. I also call it ‘creating intelligent space.’ It’s allowing space for your thinking, organisation and planning to be clarified. It’s kinda like how a cd ‘buffers’ before it plays the track. It spends a short amount of time to position and adjust the cd so that when it plays, the music sounds great.
Buffer Time is as simple as making an appointment with yourself to go through your emails over the break, to get refocused for the next period and get realigned with what’s most important.
Here are three ideas I think you should do to make buffer time work:
1. Put it in your diary (make your calendar ‘busy’ on the first day of coming back to work and put your Out of Office Reply as the second day that you come in to work).
2. Manage your overwhelm by getting clear on your next steps. I blogged recently on how to manage overwhelm: you can read it here.
3. Commit to your Buffer Time. In others words actually do it. If you’ve come back from holidays and you haven’t yet booked in some buffer time, create some space in your diary right now where you can re-prioritise, refocus and get recharged for the next quarter, whether it be a full day or half a day. And remember, when booking your next vacation, make sure you allow a full day after you come back.
Discover the secrets of the Super Productive.
Join Colin for a free masterclass on productivity.
In this training, you’ll discover:
- How to create a Super Productive Mindset (the exact thinking you must have to produce incredible results)
- The secret to leveraged energy – this is like a Red Bull for your daily productivity
- 3 critical brain rules – and how you can use them to work with your brain, not against it