Welcome to one of my favorite weeks of the year: the week between Christmas and New Year’s. At Concordia Publishing House, this is a short work-week bookended by two holidays and an extra day off. That means someone can take three days of PTO and turn that into ten days off in a row. What a deal!
While many people enjoy this week because it’s an ideal time to take a few days off to rest from the busyness of Christmas, I look forward to this week being one of my most productive weeks of the year. The majority of our team is out of the office, so that means fewer meetings, fewer interruptions, and a lot of time dedicated to work.
I’ve worked enough of these quiet weeks to know that productivity isn’t a given. Along with the quietness comes lack of urgency and the temptation to relax to the point of being unproductive. Here are a few ideas for keeping productivity at a maximum during this week.
Get Must-Do’s Done First
Even though it’s a slow week, it’s not a stop week, so there are still things that need to be completed. In the church office, there are still sermons to prepare, bulletins to create, and bills to pay. Prioritize these tasks first! The quiet nature of the week means you should be able to get these tasks done more quickly than usual without the normal distractions.
Next week things start to get back to normal, so use this time to get ahead and make the first week of the year a bit lighter. You’re certainly going to have some extra time this week; if you can use that to work ahead, you’re going to start the year off feeling prepared and ready to take on the next challenge. Who knows, working ahead might even become a habit!
Clear Clutter in Your Office or To-Do List
If you’re like me, there are probably things you’ve been putting off for a while because they haven’t reached the top of your priority list. It may be the pile of papers that need to be filed, the broken electronics you’ve been planning to take to the recycling center, or the drawer that needs to be organized so you can finally clear some things off the top of your desk. Whatever the tasks may be, take the time to finally get them done. Not only will you feel good about accomplishing them, but you also won’t have to think about them ever again.
Learn Something New
I tend to avoid learning new things when I don’t have the time to invest myself in the process, so during the work week, I tend to use the tools and systems I am most familiar with. I like to use slow weeks to spend time learning a new software or skill, even if I end up not using it again. The process of learning is refreshing, and the lessons learned are rarely wasted. For example, a few years ago, I spent three days learning the ins and outs of Microsoft Access. While I never ended up using the software again, I use the principles of database management on a daily basis in other similar tools.
Put Your Creativity Hat On
In the same way that I tend to avoid learning when I don’t have time, I tend to be most creative when I don’t have the stress of deadlines. I like to use slow weeks to brainstorm, write down topics for blog posts and webinars, and think about new ways to use our software products for ministry purposes. In the church, this is the time to look ahead for sermon illustrations, build email and newsletter templates, and create new processes for managing incoming information.
Looking for more ways to be productive?
Download our free ebook 51 Ideas to Make Your Church Office Hum.