Time management during the holidays: purposeful non-productive time or productive non-purposeful time

Not that you’re keeping track, but I haven’t posted this week.  With the blizzard that hit Denver a few days before Christmas, and the one we’re in the midst of right now, the city has been a forced to slow down.  It’s been a blissful few days of purposeful non-productivity.  Most people (who weren’t stuck in the airport) unexpectedly spent several days holed up with their families, which can be great for life balance. I built every Bionicle, Lego, and Exoforce kit my sons got for Christmas—real quality time doing activities they love.  Hmmm…I also spent time purging my files and pulling out tax documents for 2006…so I guess it wasn’t all non-productive.

Some businesses, not blizzards, also purposefully cause a slowdown during the holidyas.  This article “We’re not as productive at work during the holidays” discusses how businesses often shut down during the holidays, thereby forcing some life balance into their lives.  Our office was technically open Wednesday-Friday of this week, but the people my sales director calls are on vacation and definitely not interested in hiring a speaker this week.  It’s a natural lull in our business, and I don’t expect her call volume to be as high as usual.  The article failed to mention, however, that some industries are actually busier during this season: my clients in retail, shipping, accounting come to mind immediately.  (By the way, what other businesses are you in that actually experience speeding up vs. slowing down during the holidays?)

If you do have to go back to work right away, don’t get bored or frustrated until things pick up in mid-January!  Take the time to start those projects you’ve had on the backburner that “you never have time to get to” during the regular season.  Learn a new software package.  Organize your files.  Give away books you’re not going to read again.  Toss users manuals for software and gadgets you no longer own.  Plan your vacations and block them off your 2007 calendar.  Get out your 2007 calendar.  Get a jump start on your taxes.

Bottom line: You can have purposeful non-productive time or productive non-purposeful time.