Perhaps you view your holiday break as the perfect time to disconnect from work, relax, and recharge. You take it at face value and treat it like exactly what it is -- a real break.

Or maybe you're one of those people who thinks of all of the free time you'll have and instantly starts coming up with a list of those things you've been meaning to accomplish, but haven't yet made the time for.

If you fall into the latter camp, you're in luck. There are plenty of productive and professionally beneficial things you can do in between your holiday binge-watching and your numerous family functions.

1. Update Your LinkedIn Profile

Is your LinkedIn profile growing mold? Use your downtime to freshen up your summary, add a more recent photo, update your positions, and optimize your headline.

You'll be able to head into the new year with a new profile that's ready to highlight your most recent skills and accomplishments.

2. Clean Through Your Inbox and Computer Files

If you've let your emails and your desktop spiral out of control, spend some time cleaning things up.

Delete any unnecessary or extremely old emails and move the important ones into easy-to-reference folders. Then, do the same thing with all of those computer files that have been cluttering your desktop.

The best part? It's a pretty mindless activity you can do while camped out on the couch.

3. Brush Up Your Elevator Pitch

The new year deserves a brand new spiel, so it's time to knock the cobwebs off that tried and true elevator pitch of yours.

Of course, you'll want to update it to include any major changes in your career or business. But also challenge yourself to see just how memorable you can make it. That way, you'll be armed and ready for any upcoming networking events in the new year.

4. Learn a New Skill

Maybe it's that online course about email marketing you've been meaning to take. Or perhaps it's that video tutorial on coding you've been intending to watch.

Now's a great time to pick up a new skill -- whether it's directly relevant to your career or not. There's no better time to try your hand at something new than when you have a bunch of downtime at your disposal.

5. Write Notes

There's no denying that email is convenient. But sometimes it's nice to receive something thoughtful and handwritten in the mail.

Pick up a pack of greeting cards and write out some friendly notes to your various professional contacts. Whether it's a formal "thank you" for meeting for coffee the other week or simply your well wishes for a wonderful new year, it's an effective (and unique!) way to keep those connections strong.

6. Read

Is there anything better than curling up in your favorite chair with a good book? Yes -- if that book is something that could have a major positive impact on your career.

Grab that book you've been meaning to read for ages, and finally crack it open over your break. You'll likely return to work with a bunch of new ideas and a fresh perspective.

7. Set Goals for Next Year

Have you set your professional resolutions yet? Well, there's no time like the present.

Reserve some quiet time to sit down and reflect on the big things you want to accomplish throughout the next year. Then, take it a step further by jotting down the action steps needed to actually achieve those goals.

After all, there's nothing like starting the year feeling motivated, inspired, and focused.

8. Relax and Recharge

All right, perhaps this one seems a little counterintuitive. But rest assured, taking some time to just sit back and recharge really is productive.

We all deserve a break every now and then. So, don't feel guilty about giving yourself that time to just disconnect and relax. You've earned it!

Want to reserve your break for nothing but pure relaxation? That's great -- it's what your break was made for!

But if you decide you want to use that time for some career-boosting activities, there's plenty of opportunity there as well. Pick one (or even a few) of these eight things, and you'll put your downtime to good use.

Published on: Dec 12, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.