Getting back into work after a break

By: Auditor Training Online | Posted 04 Aug 2020

Note – this is an excerpt from the Auditor Training Online Facebook Live, view the video here.


It feels like weeks since I've been here, but really, it's only a couple of weeks. I've only really had one week off and that was to move house! The big thing with the live this morning is that I was supposed to be talking about something far more important apparently. To be honest, I haven't even logged on to my laptop and had a look as to what I prepared because you know what, I don't feel like it – I just don't! I don't feel like my head's in the right space yet. 

I've had a week off and I didn't even go anywhere, didn't even have a holiday! One thing I know is that I haven't been thinking about auditing or training or the standards as my focus has been elsewhere. I'm sure you've all been through this when you've had a break from work and it's like, okay, how do I get my head back into that space?

It just seems all consuming, doesn't it? It's like, I don't want to get back in that space, but I know once I'm there that I'll be okay. I love what I do, but at this point I don't want to, so I'm not going to talk about whatever it was that I was meant to talk about, I'm going to talk about what I'm feeling right now. Is that okay?

So, what is my plan?

How am I going to get my head back in that workspace?

How do you get back into that workspace and headspace when you come back into work?

I know as soon as I boot up my laptop this morning, there will be hundreds of emails that I need to sort through. In addition to this there will be all of the tasks assigned to me while I was away. This will be an even bigger list to catch up on.

Oh, and there's a great tip that I learned years ago is that with emails, just touch them once. You know how sometimes we tend to go through our emails and say to ourselves “Oh no, I’ll do that later” and then you go through your email again the next day and say the same thing, every time and every day wasting time by flicking over the same emails! So I'm going to use that rule today and as soon as I see an email that needs actioning, I will get it done there and then. Probably most of them I’ll just go delete, delete, delete as being away soon highlights which emails (normally subscriptions) that you still need. This is a great time to unsubscribe to any as well.

I learned years ago with my emails to just touch them once - get them done there and then!

We are incredibly lucky here at Auditor Training Online and we have some great systems and programs in place – Asana being one of them. This means that my next step will be to go through my Asana inbox and sort and plan my tasks. I'm going to go through it and see whether it's just an FYI or whether it's something that I do need to action.

Now, this is where my weekly or daily task allocation planning comes into play. We all have this system here at ATOL - each day we have dedicated to a particular part of our role. For example, on Mondays my tasks are our 'Lives' and Marketing, while on Tuesdays it’s assessment marking and compliance tasks; and so on for the other days.

Each day is identified with a different colour and I have added these in as tags and labels so I can mark different actions for different days of the week. This way my focus is on one area each day and I’m not chopping and changing every day. We all find we are so much more productive working this way. Using these tags and labels I will structure the rest of my week so that after I catch up today, I can stay focused and on track.

This means that my first day back at work is just about planning and getting some structure back in place. Then I know that my head will be back in the right space and next week I’ll be saying ‘what time off”?


Jackie StapletonJACKIE STAPLETON
Jackie is a Founding Director of Auditor Training Online. She loves to help others and share her excitement about auditing, consulting and management systems bringing to you her own experience and stories as a certification auditor.