At last, the winter holidays are so close you can almost taste the eggnog--but there's a better way to spend these merrily slow days in your office than dreaming of sugar plums (whatever those actually are!).
While the decked halls of your office may be quieter than usual with colleagues traveling, taking really long lunches, or not-so-secretly finishing their online holidays shopping, you don't have to waste the next two weeks in a productivity slump by mentally checking out.
No, I'm not suggesting you work overtime 'til Christmas Eve, but I do recommend takign advantage of a lighter workload and fewer interruptions to set yourself up for a truly productive 2017--and make those first few days of a busy Q1 a lot less crazy. Here are nine ways to do it:
1. Breeze Through Housekeeping
Whether it's the Dropbox folder you've been meaning to organize, expense reports you've been putting off since Thanksgiving, the files you should have probably backed up in June, or just getting to the bottom of your desk pile, the slow season is a perfect time to tackle menial tasks--with blissfully few interruptions!
2. Schedule Emails
During a busy Q4, follow up and networking emails may fall to the bottom of your to do list. Draft and queue those emails with a Chrome extension like Boomerang or Hubspot Sales to arrive top of inbox during the first few days of January.
3. Leave the Office
'Tis the season for long lunches and mid-day holiday lattes! Since everyone wants to be out of the office anyway, use this time to fit in some networking meals, or "off campus" creative brainstorming meetings with your co-workers.
4. Make New Year's Career Resolutions
It's easy to get caught up in your day-to-day to do list and lose sight of the bigger picture. Take some time to sketch out your plan for the year ahead, noting goals, scheduling action items by quarter or month, and identifying KPIs to measure your success in the year to come.
5. Update Your Resume
If one of those career goals happens to be "find a new job," update your resume so you're ahead of the game for the January job posts.
6. Put Time Into Your Side Hustle
Is 2017 going to be the year you make your side hustle your full time gig? Put some time into your business plan to bring this dream job closer to reality.
7. Learn a New Technology
When new Chrome extensions, email tools, or social media platforms pop up throughout the year, there's rarely time to fully learn all of their features. Even your phone probably has unlearned capabilities that would blow your mind--and make you more productive at work. Now that you have time to really focus, become an expert on a tech tool that will help you in 2017.
8. Bang Out Appointments
No matter how productive you are during the slow weeks, you'll probably still have some time to spare. Check off everyone's least favorite errands--like doctor appointments, DMV visits, and passport renewals--so you don't have to deal with them when the pace picks up in 2017.
9. Digest Media
...and not of the Facebook or Perez Hilton variety. You finally have time to read all those bookmarked articles about industry trends, or maybe even to start listening to an enriching podcast.