From the days before Christmas until the New Year, most offices become ghost towns. Far from bustling with meetings and deadlines, you may find yourself completely alone in the long row of cubicles.
While watching Netflix on your phone or hosting a chair race may seem like excellent ideas, the empty office gives you a unique opportunity to get ahead for 2016. Instead of playing Angry Birds all day, try the following ideas to be productive:
- Take a Course: Use the slow time to learn a new skill. From graphic design to mastering advanced Excel functions, there are plenty of free and low-cost courses online. Coursera.org offers free classes from top universities like Harvard, Yale, and Brown. While they don’t count for college credit, the courses range from topics like marketing to neuroscience. Udemy.com is another great resource offering classes in everything you can imagine. From learning best practices for Periscope to learning the ins and outs of InDesign, Udemy has courses from subject matter experts that you can apply to your work.
- Get Organized: If your desk resembles a paper recycling bin, it may be time to start organizing. Sort through the paperwork, toss what you don’t need and come up with a filing system that actually works for you. Consider updating your desk with fun accessories and a new picture frame to keep your space feeling fresh. It will help you come back rejuvenated and ready to work in the new year.
- Set Goals: Carving out time to plot your professional development and career ambitions can be impossible with deadlines and constant projects. Use the empty office to really reflect on where you are and where you want to be. Identify skills you need to learn to make those goals happen and note what you want to achieve next year.
- Work on Your Passion Project: Maybe you have a passion for blogging or social media, but haven’t had time for it with your regular responsibilities. This slow time can be an opportunity for you to flex your intellectual muscles and work on those passion projects. Come up with a social media calendar, brainstorm blog topics, and get writing.
The holiday slump doesn’t last long; take advantage of it while you can.