The Holiday Lull: How to Be Productive When Pretty Much No One Else Is

stocksy_txp1c6bd6c50zh100_small_454021What do you think about the time period between Dec. 26 and Jan. 2? If “vacation,” “food coma” or “spending my holiday gift cards” come to mind, you’re in good company. A 2015 survey from Robert Half found that more than a quarter of U.S. workers intended to take that week as vacation, and of those, more than half said their company was closed anyway.

So what about the rest of you, who are in an empty office? Is the holiday lull a wasted week? Or have you figured out that it can actually be a super productive time of year?

Here are a few tips for being productive during the holiday not-quite-vacation/not-quite-work week. But only if you want to…

Up Your Social Media Game

“A lot can happen in a year, so it’s worth devoting a slow December day to taking a close look at your social media profiles and making sure your bios and the like are up-to-date. … How can you use the specific features of each platform (pinned tweets, for example) to your advantage? Social media is key for networking… Making sure it’s is up to your standards will pay off in the long run.”  —  Read more at Contently.  

Get to Know Other Decision Makers at Client Companies

“[If] your main contact is on vacation, you have the ideal opportunity to find new contacts and network within their organization. … Simply ask your contact who’s going to be covering during his or her absence, in case you need to reach out. When you find out the name, follow up and say, ‘While we’re at it, is there anybody else in your company I should get in touch with, for this week, or for any other concerns in the future?’” —  Read more at Entrepreneur.  

Take Care of the Housekeeping

“I’m talking about those things you want to get done that often get thrown to the wayside in lieu of your more pressing assignments. This could include: sorting your inbox and responding to those emails that take less than a minute (e.g., ‘Did you send the file to the client?’ ‘Yes.’)…following up with that insanely smart and cool marketing exec you met at a networking event last month; and cleaning off your desk (and desktop).” —  Read more at The Muse.  

Or, Go Deep

“Georgetown computer science professor Cal Newport argues that ‘shallow work’ — the brainless tasks that occupy our day, like responding to email — is often necessary to avoid getting fired. But, he says, the secret to attaining disproportionate professional success is our ability to engage in what he calls ‘deep work.’ With professionals sending and receiving an average of 122 emails per day, it can be hard to carve out the space to work on meaningful tasks, like developing your go-to-market strategy or launching a new podcast. But when everyone else is on vacation, the level of inbound messages drops dramatically. That gives you more freedom to schedule uninterrupted blocks of time to tackle important projects you’ve been putting off, but which could significantly benefit your career.” —  Read more at Harvard Business Review.  

Managers: Thank Those Who Are Holding Down the Fort

“Public praise or recognition from your usual reward system can help deserving team members feel validated, rather than left out for working hard while their coworkers may be slacking off. It’ll also encourage others to knuckle down at a time of year when that tends to get harder.” —  Read more at  Fast Company.  

How about you? If you’re working the last week of the year, how do you boost your holiday productivity? Please share in the comments below.

Lindsey Pollak is the leading voice on millennials in the workplace, trusted by global companies, universities, the world’s top media outlets — and, most importantly, by millennials themselves. A New York Times bestselling author, Lindsey began her career as a dorm RA in college and has been mentoring millennials — and explaining them to other generations — ever since. Her keynote speeches have audiences so engaged that, in the words of one attendee, “I didn’t check my phone once!” Contact Lindsey to discuss a speaking engagement for your organization.

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