stack of vintage suitcases ready to be unpacked after vacation

Vacation time.  Most of us love the much needed break from normal every day life.  But everything great, even a wonderful vacation, has to come to an end.  Eventually.

Have you ever spent the last few days of your time off dreading the idea of getting back to work after vacation?  I know I have.  And usually I start to hate my business because of it.

For some people, just the thought of returning to regular life and their every day work responsibilities can seem dreadful.

And this can be especially true if you run your own business.  Most creative businesses are solely owned by you.  They are built completely upon your own motivation.  And if being on vacation has caused you to let your guard down and lose the discipline that you had to work towards your goals, it might be hard to get it back.

But it doesn’t have to be.  Getting back to work after vacation is just a transition time like many other moments in life.  Although you might not be looking forward to upcoming projects or restarting your business again, there are ways to make the happy vacation feeling last just a little longer.

I have always struggled with the transition to get back to work after vacation.  It usually takes about a week to catch up on customer communications, jump start my design schedule and share on social media again.

And sometimes I don’t like my business during this process.  Getting sales moving again after enjoying a relaxing time at the beach isn’t easy.

But it’s important to hit the ground running after you get back from vacation.  Because if you aren’t going to kick back into action then, most likely you’ll continue to struggle with getting back into the business groove for months to come.

Here are some things that I do to get back into my work routine after a wonderful vacation time.  These things help me restart my business on the right foot and not hate that I am self-employed.

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Kick Start your Morning Routine

Depending on your vacation, mine is usually filled with sleeping in and lazing around in the mornings with extra cups of coffee.  Add in a view and I’m all set.

After you get back to work from vacation, check in on your morning routine.  If you find it’s lacking some energy, now is a great time for a kick start.

Think about some of the favorite parts of your mornings on vacation.  Was it an hour of quiet time before the kids got up?  Or did you have time to journal?  Do some yoga on a mountainside or go for an early morning bike ride?  Maybe you just grabbed an extra cup of coffee and sipped it outside.

Choose one or two of your favorite morning habits from vacation and add them to your at home morning routine.  For me, I’ve included an extra 15 minutes to work in my journal in the morning.  This time relaxes my brain and helps me with my morning blogging session.

Tackle your To Do List One Item at a Time

I usually take down most of the listings in my shop while on vacation, leaving only the instant downloads active.  This helps me have a quieter time away without having to explain to customers why their orders will be delayed.

If you left your online shop up and running though, you’ll probably find an overwhelming amount of communication and projects to manage when you return.

Don’t tackle everything at once or you’ll become overwhelmed.  Aim for one or two to do list items at a time.  This way you don’t start to resent your business or vacation.  And you can give customers the personal attention they need.

Take an Adjustment Day

Although many of us want to jump right back into our normal life when we get back to work after vacation, sometimes it’s a good idea to take an adjustment day.  This can be especially helpful if you have to readjust to the time zone or get your body back in a sleep routine.

I usually use the first day after we return from a longer trip to do laundry, unpack our bags and go to the supermarket.  These tasks help get my family back on track for success in the weeks ahead.

Once we have our daily routine established again, I can focus on getting my business growing again.  But not with the laundry nagging at me.

Take a day to adjust back to home life.  You’ll find it easier to spend time working on your business when your household tasks are taken care of.

Update your Goal List

The change of pace during vacation time tends to result in a blossoming of new business ideas and projects.

Don’t let all of these great ideas disappear just because you’re back home.  Many times the ideas that we dream up on vacation are only lost in the chaos when we return.  Instead, turn these new ideas into your next business goals.

Take a look at your current goal list and write some new goals that work towards these projects.  After a restful vacation, you’ll probably be ready to jump start your business in a new direction.  Ride this energy wave as long as possible.

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Start a New Project

Along with updating your business goals, when you get back to work from vacation consider starting a brand new project.

Fall is in the air.  The kids are headed back to school.  It’s the perfect time to tackle something out of the ordinary or grow your business in a new direction.

Choose a project off your goal list or one that you have wanted to do for awhile.  It could be creating a seperate website for your Etsy shop, growing your email list or adding in a new product line.

Whatever you choose, end of the summer is a great time to do something unexpected for your business.  Holiday shoppers are just around the corner and your customers are ready to be wowed.  Give them something to be excited about.

Add in Exercise

One of the things I’ve noticed on our vacations is that we are constantly moving.  Whether it’s playing in the pool, hiking the local trails or biking, my family becomes quite active when we slip away from our every day suburban existence.

Capture some of that new love of exercise by establishing a solid daily exercise routine when you get back to work after vacation.

Join a gym.  Sign up for an upcoming race.  Try a new sport.  Whatever activity will get you motivated to keep moving.  Don’t let this new found love of activity diminish even though you’re not traveling.

Woman breathing while doing yoga lotus position

Take Deep Breaths

As mentioned before, returning to a business that has been closed for a week (or two) can be overwhelming.  You have to sort out orders, get products shipped, catch up on blog post comments and communicate with customers (some of whom might not be that understanding).

Despite the crazy that might ensue when you get back to work, focus on taking deep breaths.  Do some yoga or meditation in the morning.  And remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

You will eventually catch up on all of those to dos.  Even if it takes a few weeks.  Before you know it, your business will be running again like it always has.

Make a Photo Album

About two years after our honeymoon, Mr. M and I sat down to work on our photo album.  I timed the experience right around our anniversary.

Now, this was an old school photo album.  You know the non-digital kind where you print pictures, cut out items and Glue Dot it all together.  I’m not sure if anyone makes those kinds of albums any more.

Making this photo album together was a wonderful way to relive our adventures.  We talked about the places we visited, wonderful food and other discoveries we made.

If you’re longing to return to the joys of your vacation time, sit down with your family and make a photo album of your trip.  Choose digital or handmade – whichever helps your family enjoy the memories the most.

After you’ve made the album, share it together.  We love pulling out our honeymoon photo album around our anniversary time and sharing the memories as a family.  It’s amazing the conversations that happen.

Surround Yourself with Memories

Not only can you create a photo album of your trip, but you can stimulate your vacation memories by surrounding yourself with souvenirs from your travels.

Whether it’s a pinecone from the woods, seashells from the beach or a special trinket that you picked up along the way, vacations are full of items that make us want to return.

Choose something special to keep near your desk space or in your office.  This will be a constant reminder of your vacation joy as you get back to work.  Just because you can’t be on vacation all the time doesn’t mean you can’t remember how wonderful vacation was.

Start Planning your Next Trip

This is one of my favorite things to do when I get back to work after vacation.  I love starting to plan for our next trip.

Even though I’m still trying to catch up on work commitment, I sneak in time to research new destinations, browsing travel guides and dreaming about all of the places my family wants to go.

Thinking about our next vacation also motivates me to jump back into my business.  I need to start earning money to replenish our vacation budget.

I also keep a list in my journal of the places that I want to visit and things I want to do.  This list is visited often in the months following a vacation to kick off ideas for our next one.

Final Thoughts…

It can be hard to get back to work after vacation.  I find that motivating myself to pick up my business from where I left off isn’t always the easiest task.

But it’s necessary.  Life can’t be just one long vacation no matter what FIRE people will tell you.  If it was vacations would lose their charm.

Instead, capture your favorite parts from vacation in your every day life.  Add exercise back in regularly.  Create a morning routine that mimics vacation joys.  Find a new project or two to work on for your business.

And surround yourself with memories from your vacation.  Keep those reminders around for when your to do list gets frustrating.

Most importantly, keep the energy that you found from your vacation time going as long as possible.   This energy will help fuel your business in the months to come.