6 Key Tips to Stay Productive (and Maintain
Your Sanity) During the Holiday Season
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. But, unfortunately, it’s also one of the most unfocused.
People are in and out of the office, which slows your momentum and makes it that much tougher to get things taken care of.
Plus, needing to balance your regular work with all of the parties, shopping, wrapping, hosting, and traveling often means your professional commitments take a backseat until the new year rolls around—despite the numerous important year-end things you should be prioritizing.
Yes, holiday stress can be real. Your to-do list is longer than Santa’s nice list, yet you’re short on time and motivation in the office.
What can you do? Put these six tips into practice to make the holiday season not only one of your most joyous times—but also your most productive.
The holidays have a way of sneaking up, which only adds to the stress you experience during this time. For that reason, a hefty dose of prior planning can go a long way when it come to making sure you stay on top of things.
Since we’re still a couple weeks out from the holidays, take some time to sit down with your calendar right now.
What days are you planning on being out of the office? What tasks do you need to have wrapped up before you do so? What about your colleagues—is there anything you should get from them before they set off for their own holiday breaks?
While you’re at it, jot down the main things you want to complete before you take your time off for the festivities. Having those priorities listed out will serve as your inspiration in those moments when you feel like calling it quits.
People are hard to pin down during this time of year. They head out of the office early for social gatherings. They’re out on random afternoons for festive events at their child’s school. They even take the occasional personal day to get those numerous holiday tasks taken care of.
One of the best things that you and your colleagues can do for each other is to be overly communicative about your schedules.
When will you be out of the office? Are there any times when you’ll be working remotely—but still able to answer questions and complete tasks? Do you have any scheduled commitments that will take you out of the office for just an hour or two?
If you and your team don’t already share a calendar, consider setting one up just for this time of year. It’ll make it that much easier to manage expectations, schedule meetings, and just generally keep everybody on the same page.
With so much hustle and bustle, it’s more tempting than ever to jump from one task to another. You work on that presentation for a couple of minutes before being reminded that you need to order another present online. You make progress on that proposal, only to remember that you need to RSVP to that holiday party invite.
Your attention is more scattered than ever. So, don’t add fuel to the fire by attempting to multitask in the office.
Instead, pick one project and stick to it. Close out your inbox tab and channel your energy into getting one specific thing accomplished. You can even use a time management method—such as the Pomodoro Technique, for example—to help you stay zoned in on the task at hand.
Doing so will prevent you from feeling even more frazzled, while also empowering you to actually get some quality work finished.
As counterintuitive as it might feel to say “no” when asked to tackle a new project, it’s usually wiser to turn things down—at least until after the holidays are offer.
Your plate is already full and your energy is already spread thin. So, there’s no need to add more to your agenda.
Plus, by putting any new projects or assignments on hold for the next couple of weeks, you’ll have more time and attention to dedicate to wrapping up those loose ends that need to be handled before you take your holiday break—meaning you can take your time off feeling like you left things in a good place.
The holidays are a great time to indulge. But, all of those cookies, mugs of eggnog, and hors d’oeuvres can quickly zap the life out of you in the office.
While there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself, remember that you need to take care of yourself physically in order to perform at your peak in the office. An unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle can leave you feeling foggy and sluggish at work.
Make some time to hit the gym or even get out for a walk or some light exercise a couple of times each week. In between those holiday parties, remember to fuel up on water and some healthy, nutritious meals in order to counteract all of that holiday binging you’re taking part in. It’s all about balance!
Speaking of balance, that’s an important concept to keep in mind when it comes to your calendar as well.
As social as you might like to be, you don’t need to say “yes” to every single invite that’s extended your way. Agree to the ones that excite you, and then politely turn down the rest.
Make sure to also schedule in some time for yourself when you can rest, recharge, refocus, and even sit back and enjoy the merriment of the season. Believe it or not, this time will be over before you know it!