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A large majority of people take time off during the holidays, either to travel or visit with family and out-of-town guests on the home front. But for some, a little time spent at work during this usually quiet period can pay dividends come the new year. So if you’re headed into the office during the holidays, here are five great ways to take advantage of the calm environment: 

  1. Clean out your inbox. If you’re email inbox is overflowing with messages you’ve been meaning to reply to, solicitations to unsubscribe to, or articles you’ve been wanting to read, this is a great time to do so. Use this time to organize and streamline your inbox so that you’re caught up for next year.
  2. Organize your desktop. Have a million icons cluttering your computer screen? Go through each one and choose to delete it or store it in the appropriate folder in your hard drive. A sea of icons on your screen is not only confusing, it puts you at risk of losing important documents should your computer fail.
  3. Make some calls. Reach out to the other stragglers who are working during the holiday period, and take advantage of the quiet time to have a meaningful conversation. Less on your plate and fewer interruptions provides a chance to have personal, quality discussions with peers, clients and other business associates. 
  4. Work on a report. With fewer incoming calls and colleagues around to distract you, now is the perfect time to focus on a report or project that needs your undivided attention. Accomplishing a task you’ve been pushing aside for weeks or months will allow you to start your new year ahead of the game.
  5. Prep your calendar and plan. This is the perfect time to map out your calendar for at least the first quarter of the year. Schedule meetings, note important deadlines, and most importantly, make some time for yourself. Ink in important family events, dates with your loved one, and a vacation or couple of long weekends. With advance planning, you’ll have no problem fitting it all in.