Colette Sexton, news correspondent at The Sunday Business Post, on how to get through the last week of work before the Christmas holidays.
Presents are starting to appear under the Christmas tree; cars have been adorned with reindeer antlers; fairy lights twinkle everywhere; it is impossible to go a day without hearing Bing Crosby crooning. Yes, the festive season is upon us but before we gorge on turkey and ham, the vast majority of us have a few more days of work to get through. Here are some ways to survive the last-week-before-holidays syndrome and make the next few days somewhat productive.
1. Make a list
It can be hard to concentrate when your mind is wandering to a future time when you are cosying up in front of the fire with a tin of Roses. Get some focus by writing a list of tasks you hope to accomplish. It’s a great feeling to cross them off one-by-one but also it means you won’t have to face into them in the new year.
2. Clean your desk
The average desk contains 400 times more germs than a toilet seat, according to a study of 1,000 people by Pinterland UK conducted earlier this year. There are 20,961 germs per square inch on the average computer screen, plus 3,295 on the keyboard and 1,676 on a mouse. Even the tidiest among us occasionally let things stockpile on our desks so make sure you’re not returning post-holiday to a mess. Recycle any unwanted paper or documents, get rid of anything that is not completely necessary and, given the above averages, cover everything in anti-bacterial spray.
3. Review the year
Depending on your workplace, you might have a performance appraisal in the new year but even if you don’t, it is always a good idea to review how your working year has gone. It is useful to measure your accomplishments and your disappointments over the past 12 months. Be brutally honest in it. This isn’t for your boss or a potential employer. You don’t have to share it with anyone else, it is just for you. It will give you a chance to look back over your proudest moments of 2018 — plus, it will help you to focus on what you want to achieve in 2019, and how you can do that.
4. Make time to relax
Many workplaces can be incredibly busy in the run-up to December 25th, as they aim to get everything done before the holidays. Try not to take on more work than you can handle. The last thing you want is to put in all that effort and then be sick over Christmas because you are exhausted and run down. Take your lunch break, avoid staying late in the evenings if possible and schedule in some downtime.
5. Look busy
If all else fails and you really can’t motivate yourself, then at least try to look busy! Try shaking your head and frowning at your computer throughout the day. Typing furiously is also good and when walking around the workplace, move at a fast pace and always have a piece of paper in your hand so it looks like you are going to or coming from a meeting. But seriously though, don’t worry, the holidays are just around the corner!
For those of you that are not able to take a break this Christmas, make sure to cash in on as much sympathy and admiration from friends and family as possible. Enjoy being able to avoid awkward events you didn’t want to go to anyway and book yourself some time off in January when everyone else is back in work and miserable.