I’m going to let you in on one of my little productivity secrets. Every year, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, I plan to up my productivity game by turning my attention to a few things in and around my office.
It has been my experience that during this six week period, things slow down in many offices. People are traveling less for business, projects are winding down and things are just a bit quieter. I even get less email! So it’s the perfect time to catch up on things in my own office as well as reach out to others.
Here is a list of some of the things I try to do each year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s:
- 1. Tidy up shelves and cabinets. If your office is like mine, you’ve got a variety of “stuff” that has accumulated from conferences, mailings, or random events.
- 2. Sort and purge paper files, scanning those documents that can be stored electronically. I’ve been doing this for several years and I’ve discovered that I only end up needing about 20% of all I save and scan. That’s a lot of storage!
- 3. Clean up my hard drive. I think we tend to keep way more on our hard drives vs. our filing cabinets because we are unaware of just how much we’re saving. To speed up the process, I sort my file structure by date in order to see the oldest items first which helps me review and release items that are no longer needed.
- 4. Clean up my email management program. I use Outlook so I do a hard sort and purge with my email file folders as well as my Delete and Sent folders. This almost goes without saying, but if your Inbox is overflowing, this is the perfect time to tackle that as well.
- 5. Clean up my electronic calendar. Chances are you’ve stored attachments on some appointments and this is a good time to delete those, freeing up precious space. If you use Outlook, you can search your calendar, choosing the criteria of “has attachments”. A list will populate, making it easy to delete attachments or entire calendar appointments.
- 6. Connect with my customers. Even though I send out customer appreciation gifts, it’s also nice to just pick up the phone and call those I do business with and wish them well and to verbally say thanks.
- 7. Connect with my vendors and tell them how much I appreciate the work they’ve done on my behalf this past year. There are many vendors that I rely on such as my graphic designer, video editor, accountant, web developer, photographer, and others. Yes, technically I’m their customer, but it’s still nice to let them know they are appreciated!
- 8. Connect via phone with prospects and other decision makers. This is usually a time of year when their travel lessens and they’re more apt to be available. In the past I’ve made meaningful connections with people that resulted in future business.
If this is a season in which time slows down at the office for you, plan to take full advantage of it by catching up and maintaining your office surroundings. When January rolls around, you’ll be glad you did.
Here’s to a productive year-end!