Best Practices

6 things to do at work before the year ends

Note: This post was originally published in December 2014.

Whether you’re headed somewhere warm or cold for the holidays (or just parking in front of your fireplace), one thing’s for sure: you don’t want to leave feeling stressed.

Our team has pulled together a few ideas to help you tie up all the loose ends at work and ensure that you don’t come back to a mountain of tasks and email.

1. Create a ‘small tasks’ list to get done before the break

Most of us find ourselves itching to get out as the holidays inch closer. As vacation nears, try completing some small tasks you find yourself constantly putting off (like working on a few non-essential bugs, or updating meta descriptions for your website). You’ll feel satisfied and accomplished once you’ve finally checked them off. You can also take Asana’s ‘Polish Week’ approach: identify a couple of things that need some ‘polishing’ and tackle them a few days before vacation.

2. Re-prioritize projects for the new year

Go through your projects and do some cleaning. Update tasks with manageable due dates, unassign items you don’t think will get done, add new Sections to structure projects that may have gotten messy, and unfollow projects you’re no longer involved or interested in. Consider moving tasks to ‘Later’ to clean up your task list.

3. Check in with your teammates

Make sure you and your teammates are on the same page about last minute needs and projects. Rather than scheduling a bunch of status meetings, try using Team Conversations to ask questions or update teammates about the status of your work across projects. Also, be sure to update your project status to set expectations for the end of the year.

4. Don’t forget to turn on Vacation Indicator

If your teammates know your schedule during the holidays, you won’t feel like you constantly need to check Asana (or your email, for that matter). Be sure to set your Vacation Indicator at the end of your last workday, indicating when you’re out of the office.

Looking ahead…

If you’ve managed to breeze through your end-of-the-year to-do’s, consider taking some time to look forward and think about what you would like to accomplish.

5. Set aside time for big-picture thinking

Right before you start a new year is a great time to make room for a few hours for brainstorming. Let your mind wander and think big about what you want to accomplish in the new year individually, and then with your team. Create a new project for your big ideas.

6. Review your successes

Go through your completed tasks and projects and analyze your progress. Ask questions like:

  • How long did it take for you to wrap up your web redesign, or an office renovation?
  • How many tasks did you complete in a given week?

Use Asana search and Dashboards to get a quick glance at progress and accomplishments. Set aside time to reflect on what went well, and what didn’t. Take notes and set a recurring task to revisit your thoughts every few months in the new year.

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