Memorial Day in the United States and Victoria Day in Canada have come and gone, unofficially ushering in summer—even though the world may still feel like it’s turned upside down. But there’s one thing that holds true, even in a pandemic: it’s hard to get back into the swing of things after a holiday.
Meetings might be cancelled or postponed. Colleagues might be taking some much-needed time off. And, with millions of North Americans still working from home, we might not have hit the ground running first thing this morning. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still turn our days around. Even the slowest crawl can be transformed into a productive sprint—with the right mindset and the right tips.
That’s why CMIT Solutions has collected seven of our favorite strategies for fighting off the post-holiday fog. From short-term productivity hacks to long-term strategies for business success, hopefully these suggestions will help you work smarter and more efficiently.
1) Don't get bogged down in your overflowing email inbox.
Returning to work after a long weekend can be difficult—especially if there a few hundred new emails waiting for you. Instead of reading each message in detail as soon as you sit down at your desk, scan your inbox for important contacts and subject lines, along with follow-ups you were expecting. Respond to anything pressing, delete what you know isn’t necessary, and then step away so you can pivot to other work.
2) Start with small projects first.
Ever dream about clearing your calendar for that first post-holiday workday so you can ease back in to work? Us too. But it’s not always realistic. Neither is trying to dive in to a major, time-consuming project first thing in the morning. Try starting with easy tasks first. Finishing a few quick assignments right off the bat can help you build momentum for more in-depth work in the afternoon.
3) Turn off distracting app notifications.
Maybe you like to follow daily news updates, the stock market, or your social media accounts. But when you need to be productive, all those notifications can distract you. Turn off the noise by opting out of automatic app notifications on your phone and computer. This can help you focus on the task at hand—especially if it’s a detail-heavy, time-consuming job—without getting lost in a nonstop stream of pings and alerts. If some notifications (like for text messages, phone calls, and instant chats) are too important to ignore, keep those turned on. And if you need help navigating system preferences or settings so you don’t turn off the notifications you need, a trusted IT provider can help.
4) De-clutter your workspace.
Feeling spent after that morning burst of activity? Refresh your mind by re-organizing your workspace—whether that’s your physical desk, your computer desktop, your backlogged to-do list, or even your inbox. Many of us assume that tidying up is simply procrastinating by another name. But taking a break to clean your slate can actually motivate you to work smarter and more efficiently.
5) Set a shining example of online meeting etiquette.
Millions of workers around the world are still relying on videoconferencing and virtual discussions to get things done. The abbreviated work week that follows a holiday will only exacerbate the shortcomings of such platforms: the colleague who logs in late, claims their video stream isn’t working, and then takes up too much time with tangential discussions. Instead of calling them out or silently suffering, however, be the change you want to see in the telecommuting world: draw up agendas for the online meetings you host, maintain a start-on-time (and stop-on-time) policy, encourage dialogue among everyone on the call, and be sure to discuss follow-up tasks or desired outcomes before signing off.
6) Proactively control your calendars.
Speaking of online meetings, many of us get prepared to dial in to them, only to discover that the invite is out of date, the platform has changed, or the latest login info isn’t included. Whether you’re serving as a meeting host or participant, take the time to check your calendar invite in Outlook, Google, or other apps. That way you can confirm meeting links, go over attendee lists, and even check your mic and camera if needed. At the end of the afternoon, review your calendar for the following day, and make sure all your calendars are syncing across devices. These simple tasks can save you precious minutes and hours.
7) Take the next step and back up your data.
Maybe you need a secure layer of encryption around legal or financial data to meet compliance requirements. Maybe your business operates in a geographic region prone to summer hurricanes, floods, or fires. Maybe you’re becoming more aware of the threat that ransomware or viruses pose to data. No matter what, information protection is a must. The peace of mind that comes when you know your data is being backed up regularly, reliably, and remotely is priceless, helping you work with more confidence and productivity.
Are you or your employees dragging after the holiday? Not sure whether any of the above solutions are applicable to you? Want to know more about email organization, software updates, and online calendars? CMIT Solutions can help.
We optimize your systems and devices so that downtime doesn’t affect you. We empower your employees to work smarter, not harder. We worry about IT so you don’t have to. If you’re looking for reliable service, steady support, and trusted advice, CMIT Solutions can help.