I just returned from being off from work for the Christmas Holiday to discover that many of my colleagues are still off. Luckily before the break I tried to catch up on emails and smaller, but important tasks. Now that I have returned, I am finding that many of the things I want to work on are going to have to wait until certain individuals return. What should I do now?
In a Harvard Business Review article, writer Dorie Clark lists three strategies to keep you busy while you wait for your co-workers to return.
- Embrace “deep work.” – Don’t spend this uninterrupted time just catching up on emails! Use it to develop some long-range goals or craft some new innovations. When there are not too many people at work the emails slow to a manageable number that can be pushed aside.
- Clean up minor tasks. – This could be as simple as cleaning off your desk (a perfect task to help you embrace the new year) or finalizing evaluations or reports. I always find that this time is perfect for cleaning out my files.
- Build your network. – Step away from your desk, find someone else who is back from the holidays, and go to lunch! This is the perfect opportunity to establish some meaningful connections with others in different departments.
Being one of the few people at work can be lonely, but it is also a great time to re-establish your roots at work. Clark sums it up best by writing that the “…reward for holding down the fort is uninterrupted time to embrace meaningful work, clear out the cobwebs that have been hindering your productivity, and extra time to connect with colleagues and build a robust network.”