December officially marks the commencement of summer in Australia but it also signals that Xmas is fast approaching. In my house that means the Xmas decorations have been retrieved from the back of the storage under the stairs (the cupboard I always hit my head on!!)
For many of us 2015 has been a big year and we are looking forward to having a break over the Xmas period, while on the other hand of number of us will work right throughout this time and take leave later. What I often see at this time of year is workers are fatigued from being so busy and are basically doing the best they can to make it to Xmas. The problem with this is there is usually a pile of unfinished work and if a Xmas break is taken the person will already be “behind the 8 ball” before they start the New Year.
Even though studies indicate that more than 50% of employees feel more “rested, rejuvenated and reconnected to their personal life” and that nearly 40% of workers “feel more productive and better about their job” when returning from a holiday, I don’t think the pile of unfinished work scenario is something to really look forward to as in a sense it is same old, same old.
Maybe another way to look at this is to consider how athletes from virtually all sports use the offseason to rest and even recuperate from injuries and work on deficiencies. The good news for workers is I don’t think we should work on deficiencies during the holiday season as that’s when we need to rest, recharge the batteries, go on a holiday etc. However, I do think it’s extremely important as to what we do in the lead-up and just after taking a break – in a way it’s sort of a blended model of what athletes do.
In order to use the holiday break to refresh and not think about work, I believe we should endeavour to:
- Clear the backlog – what are the critical and small pieces of work we either haven’t got to or have just been putting off to another time?
- Clean the environment – are we organised, is our desk clear, is there a defined approach to storing and retrieving information? (emails, electronic documents, paper files etc)
- Plan for key outcomes – what key pieces of work need to be delivered when we return from the break?
The goal is to return to work after the Xmas break energised while delivering outcomes that matter. That way instead of feeling like we are already behind, we can hit the ground running making an impact in the 1st calendar quarter of the New Year.
You might be surprised the positive impact this can have to your holiday from having your work organised locked and loaded but also make to your wellbeing and productivity in general.
There’s still time before Xmas to get yourself sorted and under control so that you are ready to launch into 2016 ahead of the game.