By Brook Stockberger/ Las Cruces Sun-News Business Editor

Posted: 12/19/2008 06:35:54 PM MST

Are visions of sugar plums dancing in your head? That is all well and good, but don’t daydream too much, at least while you are on the job.

As the husband of an elementary school teacher, I’ve heard the stories of how hard it can be to get the kids to sit still – let alone concentrate – during the last week before holiday break. The same feeling can pervade adults at work. For many of us, the next two weeks will be disrupted by holidays on Thursday. And while Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are not holidays, they still feel that way.

This festive spirit makes it easier for many people to linger in discussion longer with colleagues around the coffee pot or to feel the need to sneak out a bit early to do some last-minute shopping or prepare a feast.

That is all right if your boss is on board. But if you are like me – and I know many of you are in the same boat – the holidays mean we have just four days to shoehorn five days’ worth of work into the week. And in the current economic climate, what with the recession being official and all that, now is not the time to be caught goofing off at work.

Across the nation we’ve seen companies contract and slash work forces. After January rears its head and 2009 is upon us, if you find yourself working for a company that needs to trim payroll, do you really want those who are making the decisions about whom to cut to remember your hard work and diligence, or to remember that you always seemed to be chatting at a neighbor’s desk, munching holiday chocolate?

Author and workplace behavior expert Scott Halford reports that a good way to try to ensure your job status is to make yourself indispensable at work. In a release sent out about his new book, “Be A Shortcut,” Halford writes that employees need to make themselves the kind of worker a boss can turn to in a pinch. Even if a required task is not something you would normally perform, if you are willing and able to do so, your value to the company will rise.

Halford writes that being a shortcut means to be “the indispensable, go-to resource one’s company can’t live without.”

Brook Stockberger can be reached at bstockberger@lcsun-news.com; (575) 541-5457

Subscribe to Be A Shortcut™ feed.