Don’t get us wrong. We thoroughly believe that your Christmas plans should primarily consist of festive dinners, hanging out with the fam and sleeping until your heart’s content. However, if you happen to be so inclined, you could actually be productive over Christmas.

Crazy thought, we know. Don’t worry, we’re not expecting you to move heaven and earth this holiday season. These actions require minimal effort at most, but will have great impact on your career in the new year. Who doesn’t love a head-start, after all?

Make a list of your career goals

December is the time to make resolutions. But let’s be frank; who actually sticks to these? Most get discarded in January, as they’re either too unrealistic or too much of a commitment, that’s a fact (if any of the cancelled gym memberships by the end of January are anything to go by).

Having said that, we believe in setting small career goals that you can hold yourself accountable to. Nothing too crazy – but something like spending 20 minutes a day reading, or writing 500 words a day will teach you discipline and potentially, unlock new skills. Start small, and who know’s where you might end up?

Build a spreadsheet of your professional contacts

You never know who’ll get you your next big opportunity. Take the time to consolidate all of the awesome acquaintances you’ve made this year and put them all in a big ol’ spreadsheet.

Sort out their names, email addresses and other contact information, their social media handles and type up notes on your relationship with each individual and plan on how to improve those relationships next year. Tidy address list? Tidy mind.

Test out your copywriting skills 

Writing about yourself in a way that’s simultaneously complimentary yet humble is difficult. So much of the job application process involves writing: whether it’s your CV, your LinkedIn profile or your cover letter.

Someone did once say you should write drunk and edit sober – not that we’re promoting irresponsible drinking, but we’d suggest doing this over a port or two to get the creative juices flowing. It is Christmas after all!

Get a diary to prepare for the new year

We hear that bullet journalling is all the rage these days. What better lazy winter day activity than taking a brand new, shiny notebook and laying it out for the new year?

Start with a completely blank notebook, and add custom sections. We recommend a word of the day box, a gratitude box for the one thing you’re thankful for that day, and a place to track your expenditure. Productivity, ahoy!

Stop putting off all those emails 

Remember that email you should have replied to weeks ago? The one you kept saying you would and then forgot? It’s still there, waiting for you to send some sort of signal. So use your down-time to bite the bullet and get it over with. Trust us, you won’t regret it.

Whilst you’re at it, why not think about who else you can contact on the new year? Get your drafts prepped and ready, and get ready to go as soon as the Christmas spirit has finally lifted.

REMEMBER: Don’t, we repeat don’t, feel guilty for taking time away from career-building over the holidays. You’ve earned your time for Christmas, so only do these activities if you have the time and enthusiasm for it!

Otherwise, enjoy your mulled wine and Christmas pudding. You deserve it, my friend.