Life & Work Skills

Everything You Need to Do At Work This Week So You Can Enjoy The Holidays In Peace

written by ALYSSA TOWNS
Source: Pexels | Karolina Grabowska
Source: Pexels | Karolina Grabowska

The holidays are right around the corner. I know, we’re excited too! You’re probably counting down the days until your holiday break and can’t wait to enjoy festivities with your friends, quality time with your loved ones, rejuvenation for the new year—or a combination of the three.

It might be tempting to leave your to-do list unfinished and get out of the office or off your laptop as soon as possible. But there are a few easy things you can and should do to wrap up at work before the holidays. Your future self will thank you, and you’ll be able to enjoy your time off without worrying about what’s waiting for you when you return. These work tips will help set you up for a successful new year.

1. Wrap up major projects

Despite our wildest hopes and dreams, there’s still work to be done this week. If there’s anything major on your to-do list (you know, the kinds of things you can’t really “circle back in the new year” on), it’s crunch time. Whether you’re prepping for or giving annual reviews, finishing up presentations and proposals, or trying to land a few new clients before you log off for the week, now’s the time to put on your headphones and lean into your favorite productivity method.

Start by drafting up your final to-do list of the year and prioritize your urgent tasks. I recommend two categories: must-dos and would-like-to-dos. This way you can make sure everything that must be done gets done and can move things to the new year if needed. Checking your must-dos off your list will help you rest easy during the break. Come the new year, nothing stressful will be looming over you and you can start slow and easy.

2. Look ahead to Q1

Q4 is an absolute race—no matter what industry you’re in. But once all of those aforementioned must-dos are done, what should you tackle next? If you’re able, allocate some time at the end of the week to look ahead. What are some things you’d like to accomplish next year? Are there any big projects or deadlines that you already know about? What does your first week back look like?

Now’s the time to break out your fresh planner and think big picture. Write down any important dates or goals you have for the coming year. Are you working towards a promotion? Heading to an industry conference in the spring? Looking to break into a new industry? Give yourself time to really think through what you want your career to look like next year and then write it down so you don’t forget it after the break. Nothing here needs to be super involved or planned to a T, but it will be nice to have a roadmap in place when you log back on after the holidays.

3. List your accomplishments (and celebrate them)

Maybe you have to complete an end-of-year performance review, but even if you don’t, you should think back and list all of your accomplishments for the year. When we’re in the grind, we may not always pause and celebrate our achievements as they happen. But here’s the thing: You deserve to be proud of your hard work, and having a list of your accomplishments can come in handy down the road.

Maybe next year, you’ll ask for a raise, switch jobs, or be up for promotion. Having a concrete list of completed achievements as evidence can help strengthen your argument or help prove that you’re the strongest candidate. And even if you don’t find yourself in one of these situations, there is absolutely no harm in celebrating yourself and your efforts.

Source: Color Joy Stock

4. Update your resume… even if you aren’t job-hunting

Are you one of those people who dread updating your resume when you’re ready to look for a new job? I don’t blame you—I know the feeling. Part of the reason this task becomes so daunting is that many of us wait until we’ve been in a role for a while and then have to spend time reflecting on years worth of work.

Instead, while your current role and responsibilities are fresh in your mind, set aside some time to update your resume. Even if you don’t end up looking for a new job in the immediate future, you’ll save time down the road and won’t have to dread this task later.

5. Clean out your inbox

There is nothing worse than leaving emails in your inbox to come back to after an extended holiday break. If you’re anything like me, you don’t want to waste more energy than you have to perusing through emails and organizing them accordingly.

Treat yourself to an early present and clean out your inbox before you shut things down for some time off. File away the emails you will need to respond to upon your return (and make sure you add them to your to-do list), get rid of junk, and unsubscribe from emails you no longer find valuable. If you haven’t done so already, consider creating a filing system in your mail app to hit the ground running and keep your inbox organized at the start of the new year.

6. Add a few connections to your network

We’ve all heard of the importance of finding and making connections, especially in the professional world. As someone who has landed multiple jobs through mutual connections, I can’t emphasize how crucial it is to grow your network.

I also know that making new connections in your sphere can be tricky, especially throughout the year when you’re drowning in responsibilities. Use the end of the year to identify two or three new connections within your extended network. Browse LinkedIn, Twitter, industry role models—you name it. Do a light introduction and let your newfound connection know you’d love to chat more after the new year.

Your circle can never be big enough when it comes to your network. You never know who might be able to help you land the role of your dreams or have a position for you when you least expect it.

7. Organize your desktop

Is your desktop a mess of files and folders right now? I don’t know about you, but I’m guilty of saving documents and images all over the place. When we’re rushing and trying to get things done, it’s easy to download what you need and forget about it.

Believe me, you’ll be thankful for the old you when you open your laptop in the new year and return to a fully organized and detoxed digital setup. Ditch the documents and images you don’t need and organize the rest so you can quickly access them going forward. And don’t forget to empty your trash when you’re finished. Think of this as a virtual cleaning of your laptop.

8. Deep clean your workspace

When was the last time you cleaned your desk or workspace? I’m talking about a deep clean, not just taking all of your used coffee mugs to the sink. If you can’t remember the last time you grabbed a duster or a rag to clean the surfaces and your equipment, you’re overdue for a good cleaning.

On your last workday for the year, grab your favorite cleaning supplies and spend a few minutes decluttering and wiping down your work area. The new year is the perfect time for a fresh start, and what better way to jump back into work than with a clean space and positive energy for the upcoming year ahead?

The holidays are an exciting time of year for many, and to be present during this time, you need to be able to disconnect from your work life fully. Don’t simply disconnect and leave messes to come back to. Try these tips to wrap up your year and start the next one on a good note. Do one (or even a few) of these things, and you’ll hit the ground running in your career early next year.