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How to Take Advantage of Holiday Downtime The holidays are quickly approaching, which means you’ll finally have some time to relax. Sounds  pretty nice, right?

Sure. But sometimes too much of a good thing can be, well, too much. Maybe you’ll find you have too much idle time. Maybe you’ll worry about “losing your edge”. Or, perhaps the overindulgence will make it harder to focus when you do finally return to work (I mean, how many “cups of cheer” does one really need, anyway?)

But just because you’re bombarded by Nat King Cole every time you enter a department store doesn’t mean you actually need to spend your entire break roasting chestnuts over an open fire.

Instead, try using some time away to get your business in order so that you’re ready to hit the ground running in the new year.

Get Organized

Start by getting organized. While this can mean different things for different businesses, it basically means tying up any loose ends and taking care of those things you always said you would do this past year but never actually got around to.

Maybe it’s writing thank you notes to clients and prospects. Perhaps it’s clearing out invoices from the 1940’s that are cluttering up your filing cabinet. Or maybe your email inbox could use an overhaul. Whatever would help you get a leg up is the perfect thing to focus on.

Learn a New Skill

Another great way to reap the benefits of downtime is to learn a new skill so that you can continue to bring value to your company. Perhaps design isn't your forte but it would really help your career. Why not familiarize yourself with some graphic design software and download some tutorials?

Even if you don’t have quite enough time to fully immerse yourself in the world of whatever it is you’re learning, you can at least develop a consistent schedule so that you can learn a little over time.

Reflect on the Past Year

You know the expression “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it?” Well, reflecting on the past year is a great way to make sure you’re not making any of the same mistakes in the new year. It's also a great opportunity to examine your successes.

Try making a list of your top five greatest accomplishments from the past year as well as your top five greatest challenges. Identify any patterns that led to your successes or failures and then make a plan to incorporate this knowledge into the new year’s business strategy.

Set Goals for the New Year

Plenty of people set personal goals for the new year in the hopes of improving themselves – losing weight, spending less, starting a new career, etc. But what about setting business goals? This can help give you direction and focus, as well as take you to your next level.

Brainstorm your goals and keep them somewhere easily accessible so that you can monitor your progress and hold yourself accountable for achieving them.

Give Yourself a Break

While organization, planning for the future, and setting goals are all great, so is a little relaxation. Try not to over-engineer your entire holiday break to the point where you completely miss out on much-needed downtime.

Give yourself a little breathing room so you can recharge your batteries and return to work refreshed and invigorated.

Cheers to great success in the coming year!