The first day back at work can be daunting, but you can get through it without going nuts.
If possible, start just a little early and take a quick pass through your incoming email, papers, voicemails.
Remember the Getting Things Done principles: you'll be less harried if you have a clear head and a good picture of what's on your list. First collect all the incoming stuff and process it quickly – less than 2 minutes on each thing – to delete or file that which requires no action on your part, note upcoming commitments on your calendar, delegate that which needs to go to someone else first, and otherwise identify things that need more of your time.
Prioritize those things – ideally by sorting/labeling as you've gone through them processing & organizing – and then just start plugging through them.
Sudden stuff will come up. If it really isn't higher priority than other things in your queue, then just prioritize it and do it at the appropriate time, giving whoever is bringing it to you a realistic prediction of when you'll get to it (and if needed an understanding of the stuff that has to get cleared from your plate beforehand).
Chug on through. Maybe you won't get very far down the list, but you'll know what's going on and be working on the right things first instead of just the noisiest or most fun.
One thought on “Don’t get swamped on the way back into the swim”
hey dinah, just wanted to say thanks for doing this all year last year. i only discovered it in november, despite the fact that we have a mutual friend, emile zola … no wait, that other “zola” guy … anyway, i read 10 months of entries in a day and skipped work and cleaned my house the day i discovered this site. now i have it bookmarked and check it every day.
i wanted to recommend a book that you’ve probably already read, “not buying it” by judith levine. it’s sort of Compact-ish and also reminds me of your principles here.
happy new year,
TK, getting up early to make tea and do dishes before going back to work this morning.