Planning for Holiday Productivity?


With this post Dawn Foster joins the WebWorkerDaily team. Dawn is a consultant, community manager, event organizer, blogger, podcaster, and technology enthusiast. By day, she is a mild-mannered consultant who helps companies build online communities and social media strategies, but by night, she is part of Legion of Tech to make the world (or at least Portland, OR) a better place for technology workers. – ED

santaI plan to spend a week visiting family in Ohio over the holidays. I will have hours on the plane and in airports, and I’ll have even more time in the evenings after the rest of the family is in bed and my body is still on Pacific time. I could spend it curled up and relaxing with some fiction printed on dead trees, but how productive would that be?

With any luck, you might also have a few slow days during the holidays: clients are on vacation, the family is driving you nuts, and you’re caught up on “real work.” What now?

I even have a wish list that I hope will help me turn this into a productive holiday.

Work on my eBook. The writing is the easy part for me, and I have it mostly written. The tough part that I’ve been putting off includes editing and fleshing out the weak areas.

Do a few more Yahoo Pipes screencasts. It would be great to record and edit a few extra episodes and have a queue of podcasts for later when I don’t have as much free time. Last weekend, I recorded two screencasts that I just might be able to edit / encode during my travel time.

Spend time on business development. The holidays are not the best time to email people and schedule meetings to talk about new business, but I’m hoping to come with a plan and a list of people to contact after the holidays.

Catch up. I guess I could even spend a few hours replying to some people in my email backlog and cranking through a few neglected items on the to-do list, but only as a last resort when I can’t find anyone to play Scrabble.

Did you notice that my wish list is filled with items that can be completed with little or no internet access? I have the additional constraint of spending my holiday in a rural area where dial-up internet is common. So far, companies aren’t even planning to have cable and DSL in that area for many years (if ever). Even my EVDO access is barely faster than dial-up on the older cell networks.

Despite these constraints, I was able to come up with a plan.

What about you? How do you plan to use your holiday time?


Holiday Travel Bureau

Thank you for suggestions Dawn. I operate by throwing everything into a “stuff” folder. Every few months I do a big sorting..


Jason Grigsby

My favorite time of the year to work is around the holidays–particularly between Christmas and New Years.

All your coworkers are on vacation. All your customers are on vacation. It’s the perfect time to catch up, clean your desk, organize your thoughts, and get ready for the New Year.

Then when everyone comes back and is desperately trying to get traction, you’re already going at full speed.

Because I enjoy working this time of year, I have consistently tried to avoid taking vacations this time of year. It feels like a break to have piece and quiet to work. I’d rather to vacation during more stressful times of year.


When I’m offline I like to organize all the stuff on my hard drive, weed things out, and do backups. I operate by throwing everything into a “stuff” folder. Every few months I do a big sorting, and about once a year I decide to organize it all differently.

Dawn Foster

Wow, thanks everyone for all of the support!

Bram, thanks for sending the pipes demo link – I love it when people answer the questions for me :)


Great post. I had never heard of Yahoo Pipes before. My mind is swirling (in a good way). What do you use Pipes for?


Great to see you contributing here Dawn, look forward to following the posts. I’ll be preparing for CES in Vegas and business development in January.

Nate DiNiro

Huzzah! Hat’s off to you Dawn, this is terrific news. Now, even more happy news this week in the Portland social media scene!

Monica Enand

Thanks for the suggestions Dawn. I agree that thinking about business development and reading up on people and researching good relationships is a great thing to do over the holidays. I hope to hit the new year with some fresh ideas about connections and relationships.

Rick Turoczy

I plan to use my holiday time reading more cool posts by your newest writer. Congrats to Dawn and the WWD team. This is a perfect match!

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