Happy holidays! Are you back to work already? Sometimes it just seems like the holidays fly by – which can be a good or bad thing, depending on your viewpoint!
One thing that’s for sure: for those of us back to work in an office, feeling productive after the holidays, when the office is mostly empty, can feel like a herculean task. After all, no one else is around working, it’s dark and cold outside, and you really have a lot of errands you’d like to run, right?
However, the longer you work in an office (or even from your own home!), the more you realize this post-holiday slump is actually a great opportunity for you, your work and/or your business. While everyone else is off tending to kids, or family still in town, or just sleeping off the holiday feasts, you can be taking advantage of the quiet time to really kick off 2017.
Here are a few tried-and-true tips for staying productive during a post-holiday slump and getting a jump on the new year!
When it’s cold outside and you’re (mostly) all alone in the office, take time to finally organize your desk. You likely have stacks of paper, receipts, and other random stuff laying around that you meant to file and never did. Now is the time to take them out, organize them by project or date, make a note on your calendar in 2017 (if it’s a recurring project), and file them away!
Consider making electronic copies too, if you’re trying to declutter. Personally, I like to make electronic copies and keep the hard copy, and I say that as someone who hates clutter. Unfortunately, files can be deleted or corrupted, and keeping a hard copy just ensures you’re covered at work. Just make sure to file it in a place that makes sense to you!
Clean Out Old Files
Finishing filing all the loose paper on your desk? Time to clean out old stuff! Whether you work at home or work in an office, it’s always a good idea to use “down time” (i.e. the post-holiday slump) to review old files and discard anything you don’t need anymore.
This is a good time to review your filing system, too. Did a project change names halfway through the year, but you still have it filed under Project A? If it’s now under a new name (or your client changed the name of their business, etc.), create a new file or use White Out to write over with the new project name, Project X.
When was the last time you took a thorough Lysol wipe and pressurized air can to your desk and keyboard, respectively? Yeah, enough said. Your desk is probably gross and harboring germs. Now that you cleared off all your paper clutter and organized your files (hopefully in a filing cabinet), now it’s time to clean off your desk – thoroughly!
Get rid of holiday cards (yes, now), pictures that aren’t framed, broken or useless pens, and corral your paper clips. If you haven’t used it all year, either get rid of it or use an organizational tool to gather extra supplies and put into your drawer. We all need paperclips, but do 70 loose paperclips need to overwhelm your desk? Gather them up, put them in a box or organizational tool, and store them away to use throughout the year.
Prepare for the Next Year
What are your goals, or the goals of your office/supervisor for 2017? Even if you haven’t discussed next year’s goals with your supervisor, you likely have an idea of projects you need to execute in 2017, so start documenting how you’re going to accomplish those goals.
If you run your own business, what do you want to focus on in January? Are you looking to focus on social media in January? How many page views per day would you like to see? Write it down, write down your plans for increasing page views (will you take a course or hire it out?), then write down your steps, day by day, for achieving your goals.
While you may not control every aspect of your projects in an office job, you probably know who you need to talk to and what steps you need to accomplish on your own before moving forward, so document these steps in your calendar and focus on them in January so you’re ready to go throughout the year.
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What are you up to during the post-holiday slump? Are you taking advantage of the down time or are you taking a much needed rest?