6 Long Weekend recovery steps to make sure you don’t hit a wall coming back to work

We all love a great weekend – many of us open our calendars as soon as we get back after our summer vacations and book another day or two based on long weekends that crop up through the year – but how can you make sure those mini breaks don’t mess with your productivity at work, or making sure your home doesn’t start to look like it’s been through a tornado? Here are some quick tips to make sure you can make the most out of a long weekend without losing your momentum in the rest of your life.

1. Advance planning:

Spontaneity is king, but what makes a spontaneous weekend away even better is if you plan for it. Put your “out of office” notification on to redirect important mail (and avoid spam), make sure you are up-to-date with your laundry and don’t leave fresh food that can turn into mush in the fridge. It’s all about reducing the effort you’ll need to make before as well as after the weekend.

2. Work smarter:

A short week when you return is a challenge – you may have to cram five days work into four. Try and get ahead before the weekend, and then make sure you limit yourself to regular working hours when you get back. Some people make the mistake of driving back after a long weekend, and then stumbling straight into their office wear the next morning. Your ability to produce great work will be limited, in fact, you may even have to redo it (especially if it was a particularly festive weekend), so pace yourself, delegate what you can and don’t undo all the relaxation you’ve had by trying to be the office superhero.

3. Anticipate and schedule:

If it’s a long weekend that affects everyone, your colleagues and clients may have taken extended holidays. To avoid a period of limbo while you await their return, get a list of to-dos before you and they go away, so that you’re not swamped with their emergencies when they get back. They’ll thank you for it. In addition, don’t book to go away when you know it’ll be your busy period at work, such as year-end reconciliation and reporting time.

4. Balance your weekend:

you may be desperate for a break, but it’s probably best not to treat it like a 72-hour long rave. Arriving back at work broken, with the world’s worst babalas is going to compound your pain – in fact, the only cure for that is another long weekend! You’ll have plenty of time to have fun as well as doing some relaxing that doesn’t involve shooters and late-night dancing. Likewise, don’t plan a three-day weekend that involves 14 hours of driving to and from a destination, leaving you with a few hours to have fun and too little sleep.

5. Have fun:

Maybe you’re not the party animal, but rather a responsible person who stores up every task for the year to do on a long weekend, from painting the house to replacing light bulbs. Even if you find household odd-jobs relaxing, you need to take some me-time. Head to the beach or the wilderness and get some fresh air. 72 hours tidying the house is hardly a holiday. You’ll find that you can leave most of those jobs and go away, and catch up with them systematically.

6. Reward yourself:

As soon as you get back, start planning your next adventure – it’s too easy to think “I should do this more often” and then never get around to it. Book regular breaks and enjoy regular fun – it’s a simple equation.