99FM – Your Inspiration Station

Skeleton Staff: How To Stay Productive While Everyone Else Is On Vacation

Definition: Skeleton staff, the minimum number of employees needed to operate a business during a vacation, weekend, or other period when people do not normally work, or full staffing is not necessary.

Your colleagues have gone on vacation and left you to hold the fort. The office is quite, its empty; it’s looking like a scene from an apocalyptic zombie movie…eerie.

Don’t let the ‘ghost town’ feeling get the better of you.  Use this time to reorganize, plan and introspect.

Here’s how you can stay productive, and abreast of things as the tumbleweed blows in.

Avoid Procrastinating

It’s easy to procrastinate because there’s no one looking over your shoulder.

Timothy A, Pychyl author of Solving The Procrastination Puzzle says that look out for the procrastination triggers. They include whether a task is:

  • Boring
  • Frustrating
  • Difficult
  • Ambiguous
  • Unstructured
  • Lacking in personal meaning or intrinsic rewards

His advice is, if you’re struggling with a task, ask yourself which of the above attributes the task has, then make a plan to flip these characteristics (e.g make the task fun, clear, or easy) to just warm up to completing it.

Plan Ahead

Kimberly Douglas, author of The Firefly Effect: Build Teams That Capture Creativity and Catapult Results, says plan ahead by managing your workload in bite size pieces.

End every day with ‘a plan for tomorrow’, she says. “ Leave each day with a simple list of the top three things you must get done for the next day. Be realistic. Aim small–scorebig.”

Stay Focused

Paul Edwards, author of Moving Forward: Turning Good Intentions into Great Results advice’s that you work on your critical tasks first, prioritize them according to importance and do them one at time instead of simultaneously.

“If you have three high-priority items and the resources to only do one of them at a time, you’ve got to choose which one goes first”, he says.

He continues to say, “ Finish it completely before moving on to the next high-priority item. Ignore your inner voice and possibly other people’s voices telling you to work on everything at the same time.”