The end of 2016 is right around the corner, which means most of us are thinking about spending time with friends and family for the holidays and getting a jumpstart on 2017. Studies show that productivity dips significantly in December when many employees are worried more about holiday shopping, family travel, and other stressors.
But before we write off the next two and half weeks as unproductive and inefficient, let’s press reset and take a look at what we can control, not what we’re destined to fall behind on. CMIT Solutions collected these five strategies to help you make the most of 2016’s encore.
1) Set goals for the end of this year, not just resolutions for the beginning of next year. January 1st has a mystical pull on most people, serving as a ceremonial slate-cleaner and opportunity to change everything. But before we start to worry about what changes we can make next year, let’s focus on what’s achievable in the next two weeks.
Starting small is crucial: clean up your computer’s desktop once and for all, or finally digitize those business cards you’ve been stuffing in a drawer over the last 12 months. Whatever you do, just do something today, in December, rather than saving everything for January 1st.
2) Embrace the chaos. Yes, the energy level in most offices is high right now. That can work against your business by distracting everyone—or it can work for you if you harness it properly. Tap into that extra level of buzz and use it to energize or excite employees. Call a meeting to get everyone’s insights on highlights from 2016, or leverage the joy that can spread from desk to desk after a good holiday party with a brainstorming session to tackle a difficult issue. Embrace the December chaos and you might just be surprised by the innovation it sparks.
3) Leave unimportant tasks (and emails) for the new year. Cleaning up that perpetually overstuffed inbox might seem like the most important item on your to-do list right now, but does it really matter if it gets finished on December 30th or January 3rd? Similarly, relying on your email program’s flags and filters to keep only important emails that require immediate action at the top of your inbox—all those “I’ve got a great idea” messages can wait until after New Year’s Eve. And if you have something due the week after the calendar flips to 2017, don’t try and get ambitious by moving it up to 2016. Focus only on the most important work over the next two weeks.
4) If you do find yourself with extra time, conduct a little spring cleaning during the winter. Most of us wait until the weather warms up before organizing and cleaning our homes, but consider cold weather the perfect time to do spring cleaning at work. For most of us in North America, it’s cold outside right now, so take advantage of the fact that we want to be indoors and warm this time of year by going through those stacks of paper on your desk or files on your computer and archiving anything no longer useful. If you have the extra time, a little early organization will leave you less overwhelmed when you come back to work after New Year’s Day.
5) Update short-term technology needs now—and develop a long-term plan for 2017. A recent survey about productivity issues found that tech problems take up an average of 30 minutes each day—which adds up to six whole days lost each year. That’s why proactive IT management and monitoring are so important. At CMIT Solutions, we offer elite client support, 24/7 availability, and comprehensive technical training that satisfies short-term and long-term business needs while freeing up employees from worrying about fixing their computers. And we offer long-term planning custom suited to your company and its future.
Fending off the end-of-year blues is never easy. But with the right tips at your disposal and the right IT partner by your side, you and your employees can boost productivity and efficiency before closing the door on 2016. Want to learn more about how CMIT Solutions worries about IT so you don’t have to? Contact us today.