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How to survive your last week at work this year (and start the next one with a smile)

Happy holidays?

For every beaming face with eyes all aglow at the prospect of Christmas, there’s another drooping at the prospect – and there’s still the rest of a working week to go. ‘Tis the season for joy, love and laughter. And last-minute panic, weather chaos, out-of-office emails from that client you really needed to speak to before you can finish…

If you’re feeling more Grinch than great about the holidays, listen up. You deserve a break, and you’re nearly there. Follow these 5 tips and you’ll find getting through the last working week, switching off, then hitting your stride in January as smooth a ride as Santa’s sleigh.

Be positive

People working around a desk

You’re here. It’s dark outside, the office is full of chocolate, and the urge to hibernate under the desk is pretty potent. But you’re here, so make these last few days count.

How? Turn off the mental countdown. Time passes more quickly when you’re busy, so get your head down and view the week’s jobs as if it’s any other week.

Don’t let your inbox kill you

Pile of books and paper

Trawling through thousands of unread emails is the least fun way to spend a grey January day. No one wants to lose hours on the first day back hitting delete – followed by the fearsome grip of ‘did I delete that very important email without reading it just now?’

Save yourself the misery, do a little housekeeping, and your new year will be the brighter for it.

How? Unsubscribe from all those Christmas offers, marketing accounts and professional resources that arrive every day. Make a list of them while you’re at it. Make a mark beside only those accounts you can remember gaining at least 3 distinct useful things from over the year. In the new year, follow them back. The rest? You won’t miss them.

Think ahead

Person working on a laptop

You may feel overwhelmed by all the tasks that you – and everyone else you work with – are trying to complete before Christmas, but that doesn’t mean you should lose sight of the big picture.

You may not feel it’s worthwhile embarking on a new project right now, but every big task is made up of smaller ones. Lay that groundwork now.

How? Pay attention to your schedule for the next three-six months, and plan ahead so you have a strategy in place. Start a research file of pages you’ll need to read in the new year. List the stakeholders you’ll need to engage with. Create a schedule for your first week back: the jobs that take priority.

Now think ahead a little further

Thumbs up
It’s the time of year when we look back and remember the highs and lows of the year as it fades. It’s important to celebrate everything you’ve learned and achieved, and not just when it’s time for your PDR. Take time to be proud.

Remember a new year is an opportunity, too. Tyhe new year won’t only be for finishing all the jobs you’re currently juggling: it’s for leaping forward.

How? Set yourself some professional goals. You’ll come back with a more positive outlook: not to a pile of tasks you didn’t want to finish last year, but exciting new challenges to embrace.

Be on holiday

Slippers and hot drink in front of a fire

When the break finally comes, you might find you’re just as busy with a different kind of work: cooking, travelling, catching up with family and friends. Your perfect Christmas won’t be the same as anyone else’s – but make sure you build in some time for yourself, too.

How? If your role means you absolutely have to check on the day job, designate one hour a day to catch up on emails, check social media or make calls; the rest is out of bounds. Remember this is your holiday, and don’t let the expectation of others overwhelm that; ‘no’ is a useful word. Take a proper break. Sleep. Do the things you never have time for, even though you know they make you happy.

In January you’ll come back refreshed, ready to take on the year.

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