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Getting Back Into Routine

Summer time is coming to an end, which means vacations and weekends by the pool are also coming to an end. What is the hardest part about vacation? Coming back to work and getting re-energized to get everything done!

If you think about it, coming back from a vacation is similar to getting back to your daily tasks after working hard on a proposal. When you have a proposal due you get into “DEAWOP mode:” Drop everything and work on proposal mode. The first day of a vacation gives you a similar feeling as when you submit a proposal – the feeling of RELIEF!  But then, how do you learn to get re-focused, re-energized and NOT have a panic attack the day you come back to work after working for days or weeks on a proposal or coming back from a vacation?

It is not summer time if we are not by the pool at least once. We lounge and float around trying to clear our mind, and we might for a minute, but then we are back to worrying about all of the errands we need to run, picking up the house, and all the work we still have to catch back up on. Even when we are supposed to be unplugged, we stay plugged in. There are times during a proposal where we may start floating around, waiting for content that is due. We can be in a standstill but we don’t want to get out in case we get dragged into or distracted by something else and lose our focus. Starting to see how our vacation and proposal time can actually be similar? Weird, right?

During proposals, we may get a little excited, and gear up and be ready to go, but by submittal time we are mentally and physically drained. From the networking, to producing the proposal, to a possible interview – we are just ready to go home by the end. This is not always possible when we have been pushing everything else off to the side to get a proposal out the door, but we are not always the most motivated to get back into the routine of things either.

It is time to re-energize and refocus – just like you have to do when you get back from vacation. Start by revisiting your to-do list, if you don’t have one, start one to keep you on track! To-do lists are a great way to look back at what you have lost sight of. I use Microsoft One Note and highly recommend it. Actually, I don’t know how you are surviving if you’re not using it! Some items on your list may have moved around since you last looked at it, so make sure everything is prioritized appropriately. We tend to look back at our lists and think some of those items are not so critical since they have not been needed while we have been on the proposal, but this is not true. Get back to focusing on the tasks that have been pushed off.
Here are a few other tools/tips to help you get back on track and stay organized:

  •  Evernote – Get organized and take notes, another great tool similar to One Note.

  • Quotes App – Daily motivational quotes!

  • Use your outlook calendar for more than just external and internal meetings. Do you need at least 15 minutes a day to walk around/stretch? Or maybe you need 30 minutes to just focus on your emails so you can get some responses out and get back to work. Whatever it is – BOOK IT IN YOUR CALENDAR. This will help you immensely.

  • Create ONE to-do list. All of your tasks that need to be completed should be found in ONE central location.

  • Celebrate your wins! Acknowledge the small wins and the big ones. This will help keep you motivated and energized!

  • Take one day at a time – you can do this! 

  • Schedule Meetings! While you worked on a proposal or were out of town, you probably cancelled or declined a few meetings. Take a look back at your calendar and reschedule those meetings. Meetings are another great way to refocus on important tasks, and it can refresh your mind after being out of it for so long. Meetings usually end with a few action items too, so you will have something to jump into.

  • Lastly, attend a networking event.  It is a nice break from our desk and there is always an opportunity to be made! Events are usually enjoyable while still being work related! I have also found that I usually come back inspired from events, or ready to share new information with my team.


Whether you are “getting back” from vacation or a proposal, taking these steps can help you gradually get back into routine. Catch your breath, but don’t fall behind, and take action. Revisit your to-do list, schedule a meeting and attend an organization event. Ready, set go!

Christina Rice
Marketing Assistant, Gannett Fleming, Inc. 

Christina has been in the A/E/C industry for almost two years and an active SMPS member for almost three. Christina was part of the SMPS Mentorship program during the 2016-2017 SMPS year and enjoyed learning from top professionals in our industry. In her free time, Christina enjoys being with her family. They get together about five nights out of the week to either have dinner, play games or even go camping; whatever they do they have fun! 


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