Making The Most of The Holidays in IT

If you are one of the unfortunate souls stuck behind the desk the last week of December, this is your time to make a list and check it twice.
Posted December 18, 2007

Eric Spiegel

Eric Spiegel

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I was in the office during the week of Christmas and not a soul was stirring, not even a mouse. To be truthful, the little rolling ball in my mouse was making an annoying squeaking sound and I really had been meaning to order a wireless mouse. But you know how the little things never get done in IT because we are all so busy (barely) keeping up with the big things day by day (and sometimes night by night).

Well guess what? This is the perfect time of year to tackle the tasks resulting from your year long procrastination. You need to get off your rump and put all that energy stored from over consumption of holiday party treats to good use.

A lot of people take this time off for vacation and if that includes you, stop reading this article and go back to sunning yourself on the beach. But if you are one of the unfortunate souls stuck behind the desk the last week of December, this is your time to make a list and check it twice.

Over the years, here are some tasks I have tackled and a few I wish I would have (and still might this year). Not all of these are tangible, but that doesn’t make them less important.

• Take a look at your desk. Can you see it? Or do you see a stack of papers? It may be that you know exactly where everything is (as I claim) but one strong breeze from a hastily closed door or an accidental spill of your coffee mug would put your “filing” system in disarray. Take this time to clean up your desk and do some filing. You may even come across some papers that will add a couple more tasks that otherwise would have been overlooked.

• I would say that it is more important to clean and organize the files on your personal computer and maybe shared file servers. Go through all the directories on your computer and, if you have the rights, do the same on the file servers used by the team. But don’t get too overzealous. Make sure your backups are all working first, so if you inadvertently delete an important file, you can restore it.

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• The holiday season is a great time to network. Take account of important people in your network that you haven’t connected with recently. Either drop them an email or give them a call to see what’s new and fill them in on your recent doings. This is the time of year where people are in a good mood to connect and you might set the stage for a business or personal opportunity in the coming year.

• Continuing on the networking front, if you have been postponing joining an online network now is the time. The dominant player is LinkedIn and it seems to be loaded with IT professionals. If you enter your professional profile now, by the end of next year at this time you’ll have a burgeoning network that you can leverage for answers to technical questions, finding recommended contractors and job searches (hiring for your team and for your next job).

• Take a close look at your heavy usage personal hardware. Many companies have set plans to cycle equipment every so many years, but many do not. Identify the desktops, laptops, printers, PDA’s, etc. that keep needing repairs or are more than a few years old and do some holiday shopping for the business.

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Tags: holidays IT, time off tech, IT vacation, organize, efficiency

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