As featured in the Careers section of The Courier Mail, I share some great advice on how to reconnect, reflect and refresh during December. Readabout how the pre-Christmas period can be a fantastic time to do things that the busyness of the rest of the year makes harder.

Slacking off at work never sounded so good.

Motivation levels for many workers often fall in the days – or weeks – leading into Christmas and summer holidays when deadlines have been met, workload drops off, and festive cheer spreads through their workplace.

Whether an office worker or a trade, there are ways in which employees can be productive at work, without it seeming like they are putting in a hard day’s effort.

Change Meridian founder Michelle Gibbings, author of Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work,says there are many activities which can also provide a good start for when work resumes in 2018.

“The pre-Christmas period can be a fantastic time to do things that the busyness of the rest of the year makes harder,” she says.

Reconnect with your network

“We all know the importance of having a great network when it comes to career success but it can be h hard to find the time”, Gibbings says.

“Reach out to people to check in on their year. Send a handwritten Christmas card, rather than a non-memorised e-card. Catch up for lunch or drinks.

It can be social, and at the same time ask them how you can best help them. Remember, the more you help your network, the more they will be willing to help you in return.”

Have a play around

“Playing is learning, which means learning needn’t be tedious”, she says.

“Think about something you’ve always wanted to learn or know more, and get going.”

Talk to experts, find ways to experiment with ideas, enrol in a free online course, buy a book, listen to a podcast, do a webinar, or join an online group to expand knowledge. “It’s an added bonus when the experimentation and learning helps take your leadership, career and personal development to the next level,” she says.

Stocktake

“We often don’t take time to slow down and reflect on what’s working or not working for us,” Gibbings says. “Reflection is an important part of career progress.

“It helps us better understand ourselves and identify where we can improve – not just the work we do, but how we live our lives.”

Consider the goals set for the year, if they were achieved, and if not, what got in the way of progress.

“Identifying learnings and then making a realistic assessment of what needs to come next will help set 2018 on a good path,” she says.

Clear the clutter

Whether it’s cleaning out the filing cabinet, clearing out the emails, or sorting the toolbox, set aside a day to cleanse.

“You could aim for inbox ‘zero’ where there are no emails left in your inbox,” Gibbings says. “Alternatively, spend time discarding and sorting things you no longer need. While it might sound boring and tedious, you’ll feel better once it’s done!”

Get set for 2018

Do not wait until next year to think about your goals.

“Building on the earlier reflection activity, consider what you want to get out of 2018,” Gibbings says. “Consider something you’ve never done before, what new learnings you want to investigate, where or how you want to advance or change your career.”