Fri., December 13, 2013 7:32am (EST)

WORKING: Work's Done For 2013
By Joshua Stewart
Updated: 4 months ago

ATLANTA  —  
With about a week and half until Christmas, work has pretty much ground to a halt in companies across Georgia. But workplace guru Brandon Smith says that does not mean productivity has to stop, too. In either case, Smith has suggestions for making the most of the last few weeks of the year. (Photo by Joshua Stewart.)
With about a week and half until Christmas, work has pretty much ground to a halt in companies across Georgia. But workplace guru Brandon Smith says that does not mean productivity has to stop, too. In either case, Smith has suggestions for making the most of the last few weeks of the year. (Photo by Joshua Stewart.)
With about a week and half until Christmas, work has pretty much ground to a halt in companies across Georgia. But workplace guru Brandon Smith says that does not mean productivity has to stop, too.

“There are a lot of professions that are still going to be running—we think about healthcare, retail, restaurants and food services—but if you’re not in a profession where you’ve got customers calling, which is most other professions, take some time off,” said Smith, a workplace consultant and professor at Emory University and Georgia State University. “Your customers are. You should too.”

For some people, Smith said, that time off will be full-on vacation. Maybe even a trip somewhere with the family since the kids will be out of school. But even those people who stay a home can use the time wisely.

“Just spend some time at home [and] get some things done,” he said. “Anything that falls in the category of stuff you should have gotten done already this year, but you’ve been too busy to do it.”

That could include doctor and dentist appointments or getting work done around the house, particularly when someone has to be home to let workers in—think carpet cleaning, pest service and the like.

“And you can work from home, if you like. But at least you’re home in your pajamas,” Smith said. “You can still be productive just doing the other things in your life that need to get done.”

It might also be a good time to start a new routine that will carry into the new year.

“For a lot of us, me included—and I’m really talking to Brandon here—my workout and exercise routine has really suffered in the last six weeks,” Smith said. “The good news is, I know I’ve got time to get back on my workout routine.”

This time of year is good for laying the groundwork in the office, too, for people still working, Smith said.

“You should be planning more and doing less,” he said.

Spend time talking with the boss. “Are you meeting their expectations? What expectations do they have of you for the coming year? This falls in that great category of managing your boss, managing up,” Smith said. “Learn about what they want so you can be planning for that.”

Smith also pointed to time-management experts who encourage people to “clean off the runway” as they start to figure out better ways to allocate their time.

“Get your workspace clean. Clean out your emails and your inbox. Clean stuff up before you start moving forward,” Smith said. “That could really set you up well, particularly at work next year.”

Next week: Smith says it’s unlikely any more hiring will happen until mid-January at most organizations. He has suggestions for job seekers who want to make the most of these last few weeks of the year so they’re ready when that happens.

Brandon Smith teaches about leadership, communication, and workplace culture at Emory University's Goizueta Business School. More of his advice is on his blog and at theworkplacetherapist.com. While you’re there, ask him your workplace or career question. We might answer you in a future radio segment.