Little Known Tricks to Power through a Slow Week at Work
We've all been there: the slow week at the office. Sometimes making it through 40 hours can seem like an eternity. Perhaps you're the only one without vacation to take between Christmas and New Year's, or maybe you're simply between projects. Either way, a few simple tricks can help you power through slow weeks at work—and even feel productive and energized by 5 o'clock Friday.
Trick 1: Use the opportunity to get ahead
Your to-do list probably has a few lingering items you need to tackle, like catching up on continuing professional education or setting timelines for the next project cycle. A slow week at work is the ideal time to tackle those important-but-not-urgent tasks that will make your work life easier in the long run. This is the time to conduct a content audit of your website, research sales prospects, develop dossiers on competitors, etc.
Trick 2: Offer to help another department
If you feel comfortable letting your boss know your workload is light, a slow period presents the perfect opportunity to gain experience in another area of the company. Chances are, some of your colleagues in other departments might be in their busy season and could use your help. This allows you to network within your company and gain insight into potential directions for your career. You're also showing you're a team player who wants to contribute to the greater cause rather than playing on Facebook.
Trick 3: Organize your files and emails
When you're up against a deadline, filing is the last thing on your mind—but next year, when you're faced with the same deadline, you'll appreciate being able to find last year's paperwork for reference. File it! A slow week is the perfect opportunity to do record retention. Clean out old files, shred what you can, and make sure what you need to keep is well-organized. This is important for digital files and emails, too—delete old drafts, make sure you're following a consistent naming convention, and create and organize folders. You’ll thank yourself later.
Trick 4: Create a career folder
As you're organizing your physical and electronic files, including your email, create a career folder. Find one consistent place to keep records from continuing education courses, positive feedback from supervisors, examples of your performance, etc. The next time you're asked to complete a self-evaluation, the information you need will be readily accessible.
Trick 5: Write thank-you notes
Buy some professional note cards, and spend time writing handwritten thank-you notes. It might sound archaic, but it's one of the most powerful steps you can take to build stronger relationships within your professional network. Think back to colleagues both inside and outside your company who've make a difference in your work life—and tell them thank you. You don't need to go on and on, but a few heartfelt sentences will really stand out.
Trick 6: Take a walk
If you're having a slow week at work, why not take the breaks you normally skip? As much as working long hours can be a badge of honor, we all function better when we actually take breaks. Respect your body's need for movement and your mind's need for rest, and get up from your desk. Walk around the building and get some fresh air. Set goals for yourself using a pedometer or fitness tracking device.
Trick 7: Make a coffee or lunch date
"Let's do lunch sometime." A slow work week is the ideal time to make "sometime" happen. Reach out to old colleagues and friends and take an hour to catch up and grab a quick sandwich. Who knows: You might find out about your next great opportunity during one of these lunch dates.
No matter how long the week feels, remember this too shall pass—soon enough you'll be wishing for a slow week.