Back to work

The holiday season is here and no doubt many of you have been enjoying a break and temporary escape from the hustle and bustle of our working lives, or at least exchanging the pressures of work for the dramas and stresses of a family holiday!

Holidays create a good opportunity to pause and reflect about the pattern of our lives. By seeing how being on holiday makes us feel, we can gain a perspective and understanding about our personal work life balance.

Monitoring ourselves and making adjustments is essential to achieving a better balance so, when you return from your holiday, try giving yourself an honest score out of 10 for:

  • How reluctant do you feel to return to work?
  • How refreshed and re-invigorated do you feel to meet the challenges ahead of you this year?
  • To what extent did you simply need the holiday as recovery time – simply sleeping more and relaxing?
  • To what extent did your holiday give you new stimulations – giving you time for your interests, quality family time, adventures, expeditions and sporting activities?

A reasonable work life balance will show as higher scores for questions 2 and 4, with an optimum balance scoring twice as much on questions 2 and 4 relative to 1 and 3. It’s quite natural to feel some reluctance to return to work and to use some of your holiday time as recovery, but if it’s too much, what can you do about it?

Planning to take more mini-breaks can be an effective solution. Regularly re-charging our batteries is far better than running too much on reserves. Studies regularly show that regular breaks in the working day improve personal productivity and I believe the same is true when it comes to the pattern of holidays and mini-breaks over the course of a year.

It is also a worthwhile practice to take the opportunity to re-assess what’s important for your life after a holiday, and to make new projections as to what you want to achieve with the rest of the year.  Giving yourself new goals to strive for and breaks to look forward to provides the balance of momentum and recharging that we all need.


To contact Nick Woodeson, please email him at