Here are five things to do today that don’t require a ton of concentration but that will help your team, rather than just giving in and streaming Christmas movies from your office. (Although who’s to say that you can’t get work done while Elf plays in the background?)
1. Send warm personal messages to people who have been especially helpful to you this year. If a colleague or vendor made your life easier this year, send them a short note (email is fine!) telling them what you appreciated and why. So few people take the time to do this that it’s likely to make a big impression; in fact, some people save these sorts of notes and treasure them for years. Bonus points: Also send an email to the person’s manager, letting the manager know how much you appreciated their employee’s work and why. Managers tend to love hearing this kind of thing, and you could make a real difference in how someone is seen and valued.
2. Do some planning for your priorities in January. Go through your to-do list and figure out what will be most important to tackle when you return to work after the new year. If you have big projects on that list, break them down into smaller components, and schedule interim deadlines for yourself and work blocks to tackle them. That way, when you come back after the holidays, you’ll be able to hit the ground running.
3. Spend 20 minutes doing something you’ve been putting off. Why only 20 minutes? Because it’s easier to get started if you’re only locking yourself in for 20 minutes – 20 minutes is nothing! You can do that! – and often when the 20 minutes is up, you’ll be in the zone and just keep going. And even if you don’t, you’ll feel better about the day for having some of it done.
4. Give yourself some room to just think. In the normal rush of day-to-day work, it’s often hard or even impossible to carve out time to step back and think creatively and big-picture. And that’s a bad thing, because innovation rarely results when you’re stuck rushing from one task to another. Take advantage of this quiet period to give yourself some breathing room to just let your mind wander. (Keep it on work matters though; don’t let it wander all the way to online gift shopping.)
5. Reorganize your space. Cleaning out your office is a time-honored way to spend a few hours when you’re stuck at work near the holidays. Because there are fewer people around to interrupt you, you’re likely to be able to make a serious dent in clutter. It probably wouldn’t hurt to sanitize your desk, keyboard, and phone while you’re at it.
And don’t limit yourself to physical space either – now’s a great time to clean out and organize your email so that you don’t come back in January to an in-box stuffed full of yet-to-be-dealt-with emails from a past year.
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