In December, there’s a lot going on, but often, nothing is getting accomplished.  If you call a business, they’re unlikely to think about starting any new business until after the first of the year, and they are working feverishly to try to wrap up things they think can be put to bed before the end of the year.   We can probably safely assume the Mayans were wrong and the world won’t end on December 21st, in which case, why are we putting off doing something great until the magic of January 1?

I’ve found myself with some unexpected quiet time where there’s nothing urgent happening, and it’s allowed me some psychic space to get a few things off the back burner that have been neglected for far too long.    Hee are a few them that might help you be in a better frame of mind come January 1:

1.  Do a deep clean in your office and files.  I did this, and got rid of five garbage bags of stuff that was simply outdated and useless.  Old research for completed projects, that would need to be updated anyway.  Old manuals for gear that is either not in use or can be easily found online.  My office is cleaner, I have room in my file cabinet, and I’m ready for phase 2-

2. Spend a little time getting your tax records ready.  I really don’t like doing this task, but spending an hour or two reviewing billing, finding I forgot to bill a client, looking at what might be advisable as a business year end purchase/upgrade, and where the deductions might be will make me much happier when I have to deal with taxes after the first of the year.  Plus, I have a high school senior, and filing early is important for the FAFSA and financial aid reasons, so no sense in putting this off.  A little time now will save me hours of tedium later.

3. Spend some time reviewing what you are saving and why.  When I went through this cleaning process, I found old business cards, pictures and cards from my kids that brought joy and tears, and plenty of things that got tossed in a folder because it seemed to be an easier decision than throwing something out.  This was a message to me to be better about putting business cards directly into electronic/database form at least once a month- card scanners and Shoeboxed (a service that does this for you) again will help keep your contacts up to date. Better yet, just simply look up the folks and add them to your Linkedin network.  There’s also better ways to manage conference handouts and determine their benefit before they take up a whole corner in the office- something I’ll keep in mind before another 5 bags of stuff begin to fill up space in my life.

4. Take a few minutes to say thanks- in person.  Over the year, there are people we’ve fallen out of contact with just because life has gotten busy, or you have meant to call them, but haven’t quite done it.  Make the call.  Send a quick, “What’s up, I miss you” email.  Take it  a step further and Pick one or two folks, and schedule a lunch or coffee- just catching up will help you recharge and feel alive rather than beaten down in a month that can be overwhelming.

5. Create some content- something meaningful.  Take the time to shoot that video, record a podcast, or do a blog post that’s about something personal- something that matters.  I keep a list of blog topics I intend to write about, setting them as reminders usually when an idea strikes while I’m driving somewhere or thinking about a pervasive problem.  This is the perfect time to take some of those good ideas out of the hopper and bring them to life, even if they aren’t particularly timely, SEO rich, or anything else you might care about.  Do it because it makes you human and relatable, and you won’t regret it.

What do you do in those two or three hours on a December afternoon when nothing is an emergency?  Share in the comments.  There’s so much more we can do than just troll Facebook or spend time cyber shopping- make a bit of that time count with something meaningful.