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It’s the final countdown… So tomorrow is the last day in the office of the year for many of you. For the rest of us worker bees, we may be “in the office” or “working,” but let’s not kid ourselves – we’re checked out and ready to enjoy the holidays and a nice break (or two). I’m with ya, seriously. But before you check out officially, you want to make sure you have a job to come back to!

Fast and Easy Ways to “Checkout” for the Year… And then enjoy your vacation

1. Stop telling the world you have vacated the building. Yes, we know you have – um, the constant staring into space or that goofy grin are two glaring signs. But stop advertising it! Don’t go around bragging to the world all of the fun plans you have for your vacation or how excited you are to get through today so you can be with your family chilling at home. Those who don’t have those awesome plans, or better – those who will be covering you when you’re vacationing, may get bitter. J Keep the details to yourself for now, and share the memories, if you must, upon your return.

2. Clean your desk. Sounds like common sense, right? Um, how many of you simply forgot to do this or created “piles” of stuff to deal with next year? Yeah, don’t. Not only does the state of your desk or office say a lot about you as an employee, but breaks are ripe for snooping. It’s human nature I suppose, but I bet you this – your boss, or someone else, will be snooping around your desk and area when the office is quiet. Who knows what they are looking for – evidence of your awesomeness, ways you’ve screwed up, projects you’ve kept hidden from them, ways to make you look bad, and so on. I think you get the point – clean that baby off! File things away that need to be kept, shred things that you had no business printing in the first place, declutter the post-it notes and other “stuff,” and leave everything locked up. Just trust me on this one.

3. Whatever you do, don’t drop a ball. It’s easy to forget about details or a project when your brain has checked out, but now is NOT the time to drop the ball. Remember, these are going to be the most recent examples of your performance that your manager will have for your upcoming review. And we all know how the recency effect can impact your overall rating. So for the love of Nancy, don’t drop the ball. Make sure you maintain the same output during these last few days of the year, as you did weeks ago. It takes a lot more concentration since you are ready.to.be.done., but stay focused for one more week.

4. Don’t get grinchy. I have seen so many people be offended or “salty” about having to work during the time when their friends have it off, and they take their frustration with their work schedule out at work. Um, bad idea. Accept the fact that either your work holiday calendar sucks or that you did a poor job at planning/using your vacation time, and remember who’s fault that is – NOT your manager’s or your coworkers. So stop being so grumpy around them. Suck it up and put on a happy face. And if the happy face part takes too much effort, just stop being a jerk – it’s not nice any time of the year.

5. Review your 2012 goals and start gathering supporting information. You may have some lulls this week and next, so now is the time to start gathering your accomplishments to help you start your self-assessment. Do not leave this off until the New Year because for some reason, as soon as January 1st hits, we all forgot what just happened. I promise. Start printing out relevant emails of support, getting your ducks in a row for your goal achievements, and so on. I’d even start writing your self-assessment if you’re so inclined… not only will it help you focus, but you’ll be a step ahead of everyone else come review time (a HUGE benefit for you).

6. Bring in some holiday cheer. You know I would never suggest anything woo-woo, but if you bring in some goodies (cookies, doughnuts, coffee, etc.) for your team and/or coworkers, it will go a long way towards them “looking the other way” when you are clearly checked out. Kindness will excuse you for a small infraction, but see above about not doing something critical.

7. Don’t let your inbox pile-up. Two notes here – first, continue to respond in a timely manner to your incoming emails. If people are emailing you still, that means they are working and expect a response – so respond as you normally would. Second, I know that you will be on vacation and hopefully that means not checking your email, but I beg of you to do a small thing before you go back to work. Ready? Log-in the night before, block 30 mins of your life, to sort/scan your emails. Most likely you won’t have thousands, but it will help you transition better upon your return, and potentially get a head start (another way to start the New Year off with a bang).

What things are you doing before “officially” checking out? Or is it too late…? Happy holidays!