How Can I Make Time Between the Holidays Productive?

We are in a window of time.  Christmas is past.  New Years Eve approaches.  There’s all sorts of last minute reasons clients might call or you could call them.  You’ve done all that!  You don’t feel like picking up the phone.  Let clients enjoy their holiday!  How can you make those days between the holidays productive?

Lets assume you are working from home.  Your desk at your regular office is neat and tidy because, except for visits, you haven’t been there for months!

1. Tidy and organize your home office.  Why is your distant desk so tidy?  Because you have been working from home!  Your desk and work area at home is less organized.  You have commandeered a guest bedroom in your large home.

Activity:  Now is the time to clean and organize your workspace.  Those little notes you saved:  If you can’t read your own handwriting, throw them out.  Those phone numbers you wrote on scraps of paper?  Enter them into an online profile.

2. Clean up your e-mails.  This is a problem for me.  Although I delete stuff often, it just comes in too fast.  The messages I intend to send a thoughtful reply.  The articles I want to read…just not now.

Activity:  Sit, sort and toss.  If there are articles you want to read, setup an Outlook folder for Articles to read.  You will feel less guilty.

3. Start preparing portfolio reviews.  Why?  Because the New Year sounds like a big event starting, when in reality it’s a continuous flow of days from the last week of 2020.  You have portfolio reviews scheduled in the first week of January!

Activity:  Assemble those portfolio reviews.  This might be an “end of the week” project, since you’ll want December numbers.

4. Read those articles!  You setup a file of articles to read.  If you have time, this is your opportunity to check them out.  Toss them out after reading.

Activity:  Empty your “articles to read” folder.

5. Get caught up on business expense reporting.  Many people fall behind in this category.  In many cases it’s money owed back to you!  Obey the “pay yourself first” instructions you give clients.

Activity:  Assemble and file your expense reports.

6. Dust, clean, polish and vacuum.  This might not be necessary if you have a maid service that cleans your home.  We do our own housework.  As a result, the office gets neglected.  This might sound minor, but if you do Zoom calls, it’s also a stage set.

Activity:  Give your office a thorough cleaning.

7. Learn about optimizing video calls.  A friend in Asia asked for some advice concerning interview questions.  I was glad to help.  The documentation she sent gave me an idea how she was preparing.  It talked about the height of the camera relative to your head, why you shouldn’t wear stripes and other practical advice.

Activity:  Do some online research about making your video calls as professional as possible.

8. Spend time with your family.  If you are like me, work is a primary focus.  Take a break.  You want to hit the ground running in the New Year, but try to live a balanced life.

Activity:  Try to close your office early every day during the holidays.

9. Catch up on social media.  You are active on Linkedin, but it’s not a priority.  Messages pile up.  You haven’t looked at notifications for awhile.

Activity:  This is easy, but it takes time.  Like your e-mail exercise, get caught up on social media messaging.

10. Plan a family vacation.  If you haven’t done this yet, get it done now.  You want something everyone can look forward to, not treat the pandemic as something you hope will end, but don’t know when.

Activity:  Consult with family and plan a holiday.  Put down a deposit.  Mark it on your calendars.

These are largely low energy, relaxing activities.  You are doing important business work and taking it out of the days when clients should be your primary focus.

Related: 8 Reasons Prospects Should Do Business in The New Year