Hi everyone, as we take off on our summer holidays, inevitably we have to come home. How do we avoid the post holiday procrastination, get tasks done so we can feel accomplished but not completely ruin our holiday rest? Why does it seem like, the minute you’re on the plane home and your brain kicks into gear – “what will we have for dinner?”, “when will I collect the dog from the minder?”, “I’ll have to get the laundry on as soon as we get home”. Holiday mode goes off, your busy life restarts and you resent that.
Then you arrive in the door with the list in your head and you don’t feel like doing any of it. You decide you’ll clean the fridge – a job completely off your To-Do list and so far left of field. Suddenly, instead of unpacking the suitcases, doing the laundry or any of the other jobs you had been thinking of, you’re knee deep in clutter from an emptied fridge or some other random household job.
At Organised Chaos during our Virtual Time Management and Productivity sessions, I often work with clients to create processes and systems just like this for their family. Checklists and routines for regular occurrences throughout the day, week, month and year are a frequent topic that we strategize.
So how do we come back from holidays and ease ourselves back into family life? Here’s three top tips to follow:
- Create a specific Holiday To-Do list: I suggest that the day before you leave, perhaps as you’re cleaning or packing, you write down the few jobs that you’ll need to do when you return. This list could also be done as you travel home such as one the plane. I reckon this list is pretty short and in fact can be replicated every time you go away so essentially you only need to write this list once. They will always be the same tasks that you need to do on re-entry to close the holiday and restart back to regular family life. These might be:
- Unpack suitcases
- Put on laundry
- Do a food shop / place food order
- Collect pets
Perhaps in fact, some of these jobs could be arranged before you even leave? For example, could a food shop online order be done with collection / delivery arranged for your return date? Or could the minders drop your pet home instead of you needing to collect?
For those of you giving out to yourselves that you start these random jobs and make more of a mess and put more pressure on yourself, then perhaps these jobs ARE in fact part of your “coming home tasks”. Maybe “organising the fridge” is something you feel you need to do ahead of a new food shop. So therefore, ALLOW FOR IT. Place it on the list. Have it in your head. Allow time for it. This way it becomes part of the routine and stops being something you beat yourself up over.
- Try Two Minute or Less Tasks: If you really really can’t get motivated at all. You are throwing a tantrum resisting the fact you’re back home and wishing you were still on holidays! Why not try making a list of 2 Minutes or less tasks. When you do that, you may in fact end up listing a lot of other items that were rolling around your head without you knowing. One way or another highlight the 2 Minutes or Less Tasks. Then look at these highlighted tasks and pick ONE. Preferably the top priority one. Instead of starting some completely different and/ or random task, start with this 2 minute task. Yes, there may be more important tasks to do. But you weren’t doing those either. What was happening was that you were either going to do nothing OR you were going to start a random, unrelated, clutter-causing task. By doing this 2 minute task, it will give you motivation and spur action on the list of things you ACTUALLY feel you should be working on. You’re still ‘procrastinating’ because you’re probably not doing THE ONE task that you wanted or feel you ‘should’ do. But at least you’re not giving yourself additional work.
- If the damage is done: Finally, IF you do ‘pull out the fridge’ and don’t catch yourself in time. Focus on getting that “new job” done. Don’t beat yourself up. You’re in the task now. Stop everything else around you, focus, get done and cleared up. THEN it will be like you’re just starting again. You will be able to reset and restart. Albeit now with a tidy fridge!
Try not to rush to and from a holiday and it’s a little bit of organisation that will allow you to do that. What tasks do you always want to have done before you go. And what tasks do you expect you’ll always need to do on your return. Instead of resisting that, respond to it. Allow time for these tasks. See if there is someone you can delegate some tasks to. That way it’s not a stressful rush out the door, nor a brutal return to home life. You have to do these jobs anyway….better to do them with a calm plan instead so you can then enjoy your well deserved holidays!