While many companies in Malta, as well as much of Europe, enjoy a slow down or a shutdown in August, many are finding themselves returning to work after some much needed downtime.

A break can do wonders to your mental health, energy levels and overall motivation levels, however returning to your daily routine can feel overwhelming.

Where do you begin?

On the plus side, returning to work after an August break generally means your inbox and calendar are not overflowing. It is one of the greatest benefits from taking time off when the rest of the professional world is also doing so – decisions are not being taken without you, and few people are urgently seeking your input over a pressing issue.

Despite the bonus of having ‘less’ to catch up with, it can be hard to break your routine when taking time off, and equally hard to re-enter that daily grind you left behind – even if only for a short while.

Jumping back into the duties that piled up while you were gone can take the shine off any position, however, strategising, planning and some discipline can go a long way to ensure a smooth transition.

Map out all your pending items

It will be difficult to prioritise your workflow without being fully up to date with all your pending tasks. Not being entirely aware of all the items that need tackling is a sure way to let anxiety creep in after a holiday. It is therefore highly useful to take time to organise your tasks, go through your emails and any other form of communication channel to make sure you know exactly what is expected of you, and what needs tackling.

Ignore the urge to tackle it all

You may have re-entered your work life with all the energy to take on an entire football team – but do not waste that energy trying to do too much too soon. Work smart and focus on getting through your tasks one step at a time. There is nothing more infuriating than working on several issues without concluding on any of them.


You may have a mountain of pending items to get through after the August lull, but some are almost certainly more important than others. Make sure to identify the urgent matters and come up with a realistic plan as to how and when they can be tackled. You may not enjoy leaving colleagues without an answer to an issue for weeks on end, but ultimately, if that issue is not so important and will not cause major disruption if left unanswered, get to it only when you are able to.

Fly under the radar

Sharing details about a recent holiday is always fun. Colleagues who have a good relationship are often eager to exchange details about how they spent their time off. Resist this urge at the start. It can be easy to get caught up in chitchat, but it is important to take charge of the first days back from a vacation. This will leave you feeling calm and in control as to how to tackle your upcoming challenges. There’s always your lunch break or opportunities for an after-work meetup to compare notes with colleagues about pleasant vacation spots.

Strike a balance

It can be tough to go from pure relaxation time to 12-hour workdays in a short span of time. It is also a sure way to erase all that good energy you’ve nurtured while on holiday. Instead, let normality back in gently. Perhaps leaving work on time is unavoidable in the first days back to the office. If that is the case, cut yourself some slack and order some dinner instead of rushing home from work to keep up with your domestic life. Organise yourself so that the shift back to ‘normality’ does not feel like a slap in the face – whether that is organising a ‘soft’ return to work or letting some personal chores pile up just a little bit longer.


David Curmi

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