12 Ways to Slack Off at the End of the Year That Are Actually Productive

By Richard Moy

As the holidays roll around, you probably have two thoughts. The first is that it’s hard to believe (as always) that the year is about to end. The second? That it’s time to slack off, right? What could you possibly get done before the New Year begins?

And don’t worry, I’m not here to tell you to keep giving it your all, especially since you’ve worked really hard all year. But rather, to suggest a few ways you can slack off productively.

1. For the Person Who Wants Inspiration: Binge Those TED Talks You’ve Neglected

I’ve lost count of how many times someone has emailed me to say, “Rich, you need to watch this talk! It’ll change your life!”

Take advantage of your downtime and catch up. Don’t know where to begin? Start with this list.

2. For the Person Who’s Addicted to Caffeine: Grab Coffee With Someone From Another Team

How many times have you promised that this would be the year that you finally built a relationship with the folks in accounting? Or in sales? You get the idea.

Find one person you’ve been meaning to chat with and suggest a coffee.

Not sure what you’ll talk about? Check out these 48 conversation starters.

3. For the Person Who Misses Black Friday: Shop for New Desk Decorations

Take some time to browse the internet for things that could improve your workspace and get you excited about coming back in the New Year.

Want some suggestions? Check out this list of items that’ll make even the most boring cubicles feel fresh.

4. For the Person Who Puts Everything Off: Procrastinate on One Project by Working on Another

Dr. John Perry once told the New York Times that some of the most productive people are also the biggest procrastinators. He suggests putting a couple daunting tasks (that don’t have actual deadlines) at the top of a to-do list and a few doable ones farther down that list.


Perry says, “The psychological principle is this: anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he or she is supposed to be doing at that moment.”

5. For the Person Who Likes Adding Skills to Their Resume: Learn Something New

Maybe you have an itch to learn how to build a website. Or if you’re like me, maybe you’ve been obsessing over how to cook a steak correctly. Go ahead and research the skill that’s eluded you forever. Even if it feels completely unrelated to your current role, there’s no way that learning won’t benefit you in some way (even if it’s only to remind you how much you love working on a new skill).

Here are 50 free classes to get you started.

6. For the Person Who Loves Food: Make a Lunch Plan for 2018

Whether you currently bring a boring lunch or just want to do it more, plan out a month’s worth of lunches that’ll inspire you to actually make them. Get started by cruising this list of 52 ideas.

7. For the Person Who Wishes They Were on Buzzfeed Right Now: Take a Personality Test

Because what is the internet for if not taking tests. Here are 14.

8. For the Person Who Commutes: Find a New Podcast

I know, I know, picking one is overwhelming. That’s why I’m providing you with this list of 15 awesome choices—you’re bound to like at least one.

9 . For the Person Who Likes Order: De-clutter Your Desktop

Here’s one of my dirtiest secrets at work:

Look familiar? The end of the year is an ideal time to tighten things up and get rid of all of this (digital) clutter. Be careful not to delete anything important, but also don’t be afraid to say farewell to those GIFs that you saved two years ago.

If you need a push, read this: 5 Things You Should Delete From Your Computer Today

10. For the Person Who Never Takes Breaks: Take a Full Hour for Lunch

If you don’t have any meetings or urgent deadlines during your typical lunchtime, treat yourself to a break that lasts a full hour. That doesn’t mean you need to eat for 60 minutes. Run to the post office, do some last-minute gift shopping, or just take a walk around the neighborhood.

11. For the Person Who Needs an Inbox Makeover: Unsubscribe From All of Those Pesky Email Subscriptions

Not in the market for a new couch anymore? Recently quit a gym that keeps on emailing you to make 2018 your best year ever? Spend your downtime at work unsubscribing from your most annoying email subscriptions. You might not think your inbox is that cluttered, but I have a feeling this activity will take you no less than an hour.

In fact, you can speed it up by using Unroll.me, a free service that makes the process insanely easy.

12. For the Person Who Just Can’t: Leave the Office at 5 PM

OK, this isn’t exactly “procrastinating.” But at the same time, there’s no use in sitting around until the clock strikes 6:00 if you don’t need to. I’m on the record for saying that leaving work at 5 PM (probably) won’t get you fired. But if you’ve been skittish about it, the end of the year is an ideal time to give it a shot.

These are all productive (and mostly fun) ways to wrap up your work year. Here’s the thing: Don’t refer to this list unless you’re 100% sure your remaining responsibilities have been addressed. You might feel productive by doing these things, but they’ll still lead you to dropping the ball if you haven’t actually finished your work.

But in the more likely scenario that you’re just running out the clock, give some of these things a shot. You might find that you’ll leave for the year feeling relaxed and motivated to get things done when you get back.


This piece was originally published by The Muse.

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