T’was the week after Christmas
And all through this tale
You’ll learn not to stress
About your work email…
The Christmas break provides office staff with the chance to unwind, recharge the batteries and spend some quality time with loved ones. However, when the New Year rolls around you can expect to return to work and find an inbox that’s fit to burst with unanswered queries and requests.
Work doesn’t always come to a standstill during the Christmas break, so if you’ve decided not to take your laptop home it’s always possible that you’ll be greeted with a big backlog of emails to get through. But by following these tips you should be able to manage a flying start to the New Year without worrying about wasting any time in getting productive.
Catch up with colleagues
Whether it’s an informal chat or a scheduled appointment, clear some time in your own diary to meet with your line manager and other key contacts so that you can get a better overall reading of the tasks you’ve been assigned to take on in the upcoming weeks. Organising these tasks according to who requested them also helps you prioritise them in your own way. Either way, building a gradual task list over time is much preferable and less stress-inducing than trying to tackle a lot of emails without knowing if there are still more pressing jobs ahead before you’ve cleared them.
Your office email software can prove very helpful in sorting out the different priorities of work. Start by creating subfolders into which you can place emails according to task, sender or deadline – breaking down that mountain of mail will make it seem a lot less daunting a task. Plus, if all the information you needed to complete a task was separated out by day, you’ve got all that information much closer together inside the same folder, saving time on scrolling up and down through all your other messages trying to track one down.
Produce hard copies
Once you’ve obtained all the relevant documents, you may prefer to keep a hard copy of the most pertinent stuff inside a file or folder on your desk for easy reference – that way the information you need is on hand and can be taken into meetings or calls.
While you’re enjoying some much-needed time off, pay no mind to what you’re missing. A steady stream of emails isn’t as daunting as you may think – they’re certainly nothing to dread over the Christmas break when companies usually adjust to a slower pace anyway. With some time and organisation, you can avoid that dreaded feeling of opening your email software once you’re back from the break.