The Night Before: Getting over the anxiety of going back to work

The night before any race whether it’s a marathon or a 10K I do not sleep well.  I toss and turn in the bed, my mouth feels dry, I freak out like I’m not going to make the race.  It’s funny because I’m prepared going to a race, I’m not competing for a cash prize, so what’s the big deal?
I get the same way going back to work after a substantial break.  Tomorrow is my first day back since Christmas Eve, and I’ll admit there is a little anxiety…why?  Well, I have a load of time sensitive stuff that needs to be addressed, messages to write, camps and retreats to plan.  Will I get them all done?  Sure, but to make sure I don’t get lost in the mess of things I need to have a plan and this is what it looks like:

  • Review The Big Five:  It’s a new year, a lot has changed so I want to make sure that the five most important things I do in my job are Writing/Research, Connecting With Parents, Inviting Students, Program Development and Minister Recruitment.  In 2010 that’s what I felt my job was all about; however, walking into 2011 that might have changed.  I just need to give myself time to see whether or not it has.
  • Create a Checklist: Write out, categorize and be specific.  When I write something down I’ll remember it.  By categorizing short term and long term I know what needs my immediate attention.  It’s also imperative that I be specific, for example if I write, “Research messages.” I’m putting myself up for failure.  What I should write out is, “Visit for relevant passages for week 1 of sex and dating series.”  Granted I’ll need to do more than that for research, but because it’s specific I’ll get it done.
  • Digest Lunch With Inbox Inventory:  I know I’ve shared this post multiple times, but if you haven’t already go to Michael Hyatt’s blog and check out his articles on organizing mail and email, it’s worth your time.  But what I’ll advise is that you check voice mail and email midday.  In the morning I tend to be a little sensitive, if I get blindsided with something huge it could throw off my whole week.  If you’ve been off for several days, waiting a few hours more to check emails and voicemail shouldn’t hurt the situation.
  • Write Out The Calendar: New year, new calendars, makes sense right?  I’m going to look over my calendar, write out a work schedule that will create margin, make sure meetings aren’t overbooked and give myself a healthy start by making sure I’m working consistent and regularly.  Having an organized and somewhat strict schedule after coming off a break is going to help you create a healthy pace.
  • Check-in With The Team:  I’m sure my leaders missed me…ha!  No, but really we need to make sure our leaders are doing well, we also need to get them motivated about what lies ahead.  Don’t take for granted how they are feeling, because some of them may be freaking out about getting back into the groove, while others are reluctant of the start up.

I’ve got some goals for the year, I’m also going to try a few new things with the blog and the ministry.  But I know what’s important is getting back to a pace that’s consistent; yet, challenging.  I don’t know what you do when you get back from breaks or vacation, but I would recommend spending time putting a plan together.  But that’s me, I’m interested in what it is you do when you get back from a break.  Do you:  Procrastinate, Check email/voicemail, Make Check-lists, Visit Coworkers…Share your thoughts below.