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If you are the northeastern coast, you may end up working from home during a winter storm this season. For some, the home office environment doesn’t generate the same energy that employees get from their workplaces, making it more difficult to maintain focus or get past procrastination. For others, the quiet stillness is ideal for productivity, but you may not always have a long list of tasks to complete.
In either case, there is always something you can be doing to improve your business, your personal brand, and your skills. Here are my go-to snow day tasks:
Learn a new skill
Do you have a piece of software or new app you’ve been meaning to learn and haven’t yet had the time? Or, even just a particular feature of a program you use often? Today is the day to dig in and see what you can learn. Scan online forums, how-to’s, or sites like Lynda.com for tutorials, tip sheets, and chats. It can turn out to be a worthy investment.
Check on your social properties
Hop on your company’s LinkedIn page and check out the types of content people are sharing, who is following you, and think about how you can contribute. On Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest…? Get on those too! It’s important to know what people are saying about your company and how others interact with your social profiles.
Improve your LinkedIn profile & activity
While you’re checking out social media, make sure your own is up to par! LinkedIn will walk you through profile steps to ensure you’re connected and all of your profile specifics are completed. Add education, volunteering experience, awards and certifications, and specific projects you’ve accomplished. It is a better reflection of you to have your hard work on display and will help you turn up in more searches.
Write a blog
Help out your content marketing team! Pick an industry topic or something specific to your job role that you either have a great understanding of or care about passionately. Then write about it like you’re explaining it to a coworker—in your tone and language. Writing is a fantastic skill to have and it takes practice, but it will develop more quickly if you are true to your interests and voice.
Literally. Go to Google and type in your company’s name or your name and look at what turns up. If you’re using Chrome, make sure to open an Incognito tab to do this so that your past searches do not affect your results. There are going to be items that if aren’t surprising, will at least be thought-provoking in terms of how effective your SEO is and what other sites are being categorized alongside you.
Clean out your inbox
A clean inbox is a clean conscience. Go back to those flagged emails from 2014 and reply, delete, or at a minimum, acknowledge. Get rid of the old items that are no longer relevant and finally click on the links and references that are. If need be, start a separate reading list in your Evernote app or just a Word doc on your desktop and set due dates. The goal is to get the clutter out of your sight and file only the most important pieces.
Mentor an employee
If you are a manager or long-time employee, take a moment to think about who relies on you for advice or tasks assignments. They probably do the majority of first-touch communication between the two of you, most likely when they are asking you for something. This is an opportunity to reach out to them first by sending an interesting article, workplace tip, or pat on the back. It goes a long way and they’ll appreciate it greatly.
Research your industry
It’s easy to get wrapped up within our own company’s walls, using the same points of reference over and over again. Step outside. Take an hour to research your industry on a local, national, and even international level. If you do this regularly, go beyond your usual search teams and look for other facets of your business you’re not normally involved in. It’s a great exercise to expand our often pigeon-holed perspectives.
Research a different industry
This is another way of saying, “think outside the box”. If your business is struggling to use direct mail effectively, look at other industries that are using it well. The same goes for internal communication, management, and any area of business that you want to improve. And go way outside, not a related industry. Why does it work for them? Are there ways for you to implement those solutions or is it not benefitting you for a reason?
You have time to dream today, so dream. Sit back with your feet up and hands folded in your lap. Stare out the window or at the blank ceiling. Now just let your mind go and envision your business in 10 years. In 20 years. What does it look like? What are you doing in that environment? Picture your office, your employees, your revenue, and your methods of communication. Does it make you feel good and confident? How will you get there?
Completed all 10 items (and your daily tasks, of course)? Great! Make yourself a hot chocolate or go build a snowman with a loved one. A little free time does wonders for creativity.