When you return from a holiday, it’s easy to sink slowly back to work by tackling small projects. Psychology Today suggests a better option could be to take advantage of your clear mind and hit the ground running on big projects.
Photo remixed from Intel Free Press.
The idea is that when you first return to work after an extended break, your mind is rested, and this means you have the clarity of distance, you can notice subtle cues, and you don’t get stuck on the wrong answers. When you return from a holiday, you’re rewiring your brain a little, and that means your mind is a little more open. Psychology Today suggests taking advantage of this rare moment:
After a vacation, this happens all by itself as your circuits for solving a problem one way have become less dominant. This idea also explains why I like playing musical pieces I have written on the piano after a long break. I tend to naturally do things differently, because the circuits are not held as tightly, and I stumble upon happy musical accidents along the way.
What this means at work is that new answers to tough problems are more likely to emerge into [your] mind when you haven’t thought about a problem for a while. So use this resource, use your fresh mind, to tackle big challenges, not little things you could do anytime.
It’s certainly easier to dip your toe back into work by catching up on email or doing other simple tasks, but maybe it’s not such a bad idea to jump in head first either.
Back From a Vacation? Don’t Waste Your Clear Mind on the Small Stuff [Psychology Today]