Earlier this month, the 4th of July fell smack-dab in the middle of the week, wreaking havoc on sales schedules everywhere. If you followed my advice, you planned for some non-standard weeks. Whether it’s a holiday, vacation, or traveling week, there will be work weeks that aren’t “normal”.
These are the times when it’s hard to buckle down and get things done. It’s tempting to just blow off the whole week, but it’s possible to sow productivity into these weeks without sacrificing your personal time. How do you remain productive even on those weeks when it doesn’t feel like you need to?
Create a plan for a light week. You can cross a bunch of small things off your to-do list and still dedicate a day or two to travel or enjoying a holiday. The important part is to stop the temptation to just write off the entire week. Here are some tips to stay productive and keep yourself on track towards meeting your goals.
1. Purge It
Most of us have offices we’ve lived in for years. In my experience, most people clean their office twice: when they move in and when they move out!
But taking time throughout the year to purge things like stacks of paper, books, and training materials is a great way to keep your office clean and keep yourself more productive. Take this time to give some attention to the space where you spend so much time. The things you surround yourself with have a huge effect on your output.
2. Get Prepped
A great use of these bonus weeks is to dig in on plotting how you’ll attack the year (or quarter) ahead. If you schedule your social media in advance, for instance, this is a great time to do that. Without the pressure of day-to-day minutia, you can spend some time laying out how you’ll crush your goals, both short-term and long-term.
3. Grab a Bite
These weeks are a great time to grab lunch with the people you don’t see very often. Take the chance to meet up with folks with whom you may not have direct business currently, but whom you may rely on for referrals and career enrichment. Take your time. Order dessert. Laugh and catch up on personal things. You can have a bit more fun in these weeks because the pressure of performance isn’t as strong.
4. Read Up
Think about all those tabs that have been sitting open on your browser for six months, or that list of articles and books you’ve been trying to get around to. If there is anything you’ve been meaning to read, this is a great time to do that. Maybe you even have a recertification exam coming up for a license you hold. This is a great study week!
5. Prepare Your Prospects
As with your long-term planning, these weeks are great opportunities to do some research to help replenish your prospect list. If you’ve been meaning to send any thank-you notes or do any targeted marketing, this is a great time to focus on that. Take a look at your funnel, and see where you can clean things up and refresh your approach.
6. Generate Content
If you’re blogging (or want to start blogging), creating content is a great way to use this bonus time. You can even draw inspiration from the reading you just caught up on, create some fresh content, and pop it into your social media calendar. It can be hard to keep up with writing exciting, engaging content when you’re in the midst of a regular work week, so take this quieter time to focus on developing some valuable copy for your readers.
In a normal work week, most of us are balancing a million different things. The day-to-day grind can make it hard to get ahead of ourselves and do any sort of long-range thinking or planning. These bonus weeks are a golden opportunity to tackle some of those things that easily fall by the wayside during a hectic work week.
Remember, you don’t have to do it all! And you can still have a great holiday, vacation, or trip. But if you go into the week with a short list of action items from your long-range or big picture to-do list, then you’ll walk away feeling a sense of accomplishment on top of getting time off and enjoying a break.
When Sunday rolls around, you won’t be dreading going back to work the next day or lamenting about how you didn’t get anything done all week. You will have both enjoyed some valuable personal time and ticked some items off your to-do list.
In the end, remember that these weeks are legitimate bonus weeks. Don’t be hard on yourself! Be honest with yourself up front, and admit that it’s going to be an easy, light week. This way, when you do get some things done, you can feel even better about yourself.
Until next time—go sell some stuff!