After you wake up this Friday from your turkey-induced tryptophan coma, do you really want to brave the big-box stores at 5 a.m. for “doorbuster” deals? CNN recommends you eye the fine print on those Black Friday sales, because a lot of them are too good to be true. And we’re still in a recession! So instead, why not exert your energy on getting to those all-important work tasks you’ve been putting off?
Black Friday could be your chance to make a statement – one about not falling prey to the lure of consumerism. This is your opportunity to celebrate Buy Nothing Day, tune out the outside world and focus on work chores when it’s not busy and clients aren’t likely to bug you. Back up your files – It’s happened to everyone: Your laptop was stolen, your kid spilled milk on your computer, or you simply received the Blue Screen of Death. But no matter how many horror stories we hear, people still aren’t very good about backing up their files. Be honest – when was the last time you did? There are a lot of options for where to back up your stuff: CD, ZIP disk, external drive or even the Internet. And a slow work day is the best time to do it. Return e-mails – The system I’ve noticed a lot of people have with work e-mail is they answer high-priority ones immediately and then let the less-important stuff filter to the bottom of their inbox with the intent of circling back to it eventually. But they don’t – at least, not for a while. An unanswered e-mail can be a missed opportunity. Not replying can make you look bad to co-workers and clients, and it can also allow business opportunities to slip away. Tackle this task on Black Friday – and maybe even a designated day per month – and clean out your inbox by addressing all those unanswered e-mails. Test-drive new tools and apps – So often I come across new technology, and I hesitate to give it a whirl because I don’t have time to figure it out. I have deadlines to meet! A Google Wave invite has been sitting in my inbox, waiting for me to see if it lives up to the hype, but I haven’t even clicked on the link in the invitation. Black Friday could be the day, however, to play around with it so that when an opportunity comes up to use Google Wave for real, I won’t look like a novice. Give thanks – It’s too late to create printed Thanksgiving cards, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still show your appreciation to clients, customers, vendors and co-workers. Take the time to write individual e-mails – not just an impersonal blast – to those who’ve helped you during the past year. Maybe it’s a longtime customer who’s recommended your services to others or an employee who often brings you a mocha without you having to ask. Thank the people who’ve made a difference in your business – they’ll remember and appreciate your graciousness, and that’s the type of karma that keeps on giving. These are just a few productive ways to celebrate Black Friday without opening your wallet. Of course, if you absolutely can’t fathom missing the biggest shopping day of the year, check Web Worker Daily’s tips for finding great deals on gear. It includes external storage bargains! Now it’s your turn: What are you doing on Black Friday?