Through luck, planning or employer largesse, many people get to take off the last week of the year. Others, however, still have to work.
If you fall into that second category, you’ll be plenty busy if you’re in retail, the food biz or other service industries. But if you work in one of the many sectors of the economy that slow way down during the holidays, you might be finding it difficult to stay motivated. Colleagues and clients may be absent. The ones who are still around probably have less than positive attitudes.
Don’t despair. These quiet times can be great. You can finally tackle projects that require solitude and focus. Just pick out a few of those high-intensity, high-focus jobs you never manage to get to and dive in. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when you’re not being interrupted every 10 minutes.
You can also power through all the bureaucratic minutiae that never seems to make it to the top of your to-do list. Organizing and putting away work materials, filling out expense reports, updating your LinkedIn profile — these small but important tasks too often get shuffled to the bottom of the pile.
Are you already up to date on everything? Head off those January blahs by using this peaceful interval to plan out projects for the upcoming year. Break down the projects into their component steps and organize them in terms of daily, weekly and monthly deadlines. If you still have time on your hands, start working on a few of those projects now.
Finally, the last week of the calendar year is the ideal time to deep clean your workspace. Sort through your inbox and get it as empty as you can. Vacuum the cookie crumbs out of your keyboard. Wipe down your work surfaces. Toss all the pens that don’t work and replace them with fresh new ones.
You don’t have to feel bad about working between the holidays. Remind yourself of all the crazy hectic days during the past year when you yearned for peace, and sincerely wished your co-workers, clients or customers were far, far away. Then use this blissfully quiet last week of the year to supercharge your focus and productivity. You’ll hit the new year running.