SNOW DAY: Five Ways to Make It Count

snowy pathI might be more excited about a snow day this very non-snowy winter then even my school aged children. Visions of hot chocolate dance in my head. And like any good New Englander I made sure the shovels were handy, snack food is overflowing, candles are at the ready and the liquor cabinet is fully stocked. With the emergency checklist completed I started to think about the Snow Day ahead. How can I make the most of this completely uncommitted work day?

Hard driving professionals are going to be tempted to organize their in-box, write a ton of email, schedule a bazillion status reports. But wouldn’t it be a shame to waste a snow day on our checklists? Instead — I’m going to take the time to open my mind, step away from the mundane into the strategic and recharge my batteries.

READ — sure you can sneak in a couple of chapters on that novel sitting unread at your bedside table, or catch up on your email. But to really make this unexpected work day memorable why not pick up the dust encrusted business book you’ve been meaning to read? Or tackle that stack of white papers and articles you’ve been faithfully storing neatly in a “read” folder on your desktop?

THINK — yes, think! Take the unexpected free time to step away from the day-to-day and ponder the possible. Give your mind license to explore the uninterrupted pleasure of fire drill free consideration. You might even want to use good old paper and pencil to jot down the random and not-so random ideas that you generate.

RECHARGE — Go ahead, make a snow angel. Join in a snow ball fight. Enjoy a home-made snow cone. Make at least part of this work day a fun day. You’ll recharge your mind and go back to work full of extra energy and focus.

REKINDLE — If you are anything like me you have a big network of peers who you follow on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook but rarely see or speak to live. Social media gives us an incredible opportunity to stay connected to large numbers of people but it doesn’t replace the pleasure of hearing someone’s laughter, or idea generation of connecting over a brainstorming lunch. A snow day is the perfect time to do some video chatting with an old colleague, or reach out to actually firm up a date for the lunch you’ve been meaning to schedule for ages.

FIND NEW CONNECTIONS — When was the last time you did a comprehensive search in LinkedIn for client, partner, co-worker peers and asked for referrals to other people you are interested in meeting? Do those Twitter keyword searches need some refreshing? Which colleagues are on Facebook which you haven’t yet found? Today’s the perfect day to grow your network.

Remember, the to-do list will be there tomorrow, but the 10 hours of unexpected meeting free time won’t be. Make the most of your snow day!