10 Tips for Staying Productive During the Holidays

It’s the holiday season, which means it’s the start to a very busy social calendar. There are holiday parties, shopping, dinners, visits to see Santa… the list goes on and on.  So how do you maintain your focus and productivity at work during this busy time? Here are 10 tips to get you through the season.

Set realistic goals for yourself.  Create a list of your goals for the day and/or week. Focus on one goal at a time. To be most productive focus on the most important tasks first, then work your way down the list. Not only will this keep you focused it will uplift your mood by being able to  check things off your list throughout the day.

Take some time off. Try to save up some vacation time for the end of the year. Use this time to do some shopping or enjoy time with friends and family. Even just an afternoon can give you a chance to refresh and recharge during the busy holiday season.

Communicate your expectations and schedule. Kids have a school concert next week you have to leave early for? Having relatives coming into town that need a lift from the airport? The best way to reduce stress is to be able to anticipate unavailable hours/days and communicate it early in the season. This will give others a chance to plan accordingly.

Clear your mind. Get your tasks and projects, both personal and professional, into a digital or paper system and out of your head. Check to make sure your list is realistic. If not, decide what you need to say “no” to, or what can wait until after the New Year.

Don’t over-commit. You don’t have to say “yes” to everything! REPEAT. You don’t have to say “yes” to everything! Be sure to prioritize and balance your holiday activities with your work obligations. Don’t feel like you have to go to every department lunch gathering or office party you get invited to. Keeping focused and maintaining a good work-life balance sometimes means saying no.

Don’t take your work home. We all have family obligations during the holiday season. Try to focus when in the office in order to accomplish your tasks.  This will reduce the risk of having to take work home with you. Commit to a hard stop time, using getting out the door on time as a priority to fight off those tempting distractions.

Try to avoid multitasking. Yes, multi-tasking is sometimes a necessity. Carefully gauge which tasks will not suffer from multi-tasking. But don’t overdo it. Cramming too many projects into your day can result in rushed work , further increasing the likelihood that you’ll make a mistake. If that happens and you have to redo the work, you’ll ultimately waste more time. So if you have major projects coming up, tackle them one-by-one for maximum productivity.

Take care of yourself physically. Don’t let your emotional wellbeing take a back seat. Take a walk around the block, get to bed 30 minutes earlier or take an orange to eat as a snack in the afternoon for an energy boost and to keep your vitamin C level up. When you make time for these activities, the rest of your schedule falls into place.

Look forward to next year. There is something refreshing about the New Year.  It can feel good to go back to your regular schedule after a long, hopefully relaxing holiday break.  Anticipating new budgets and projects will keep you motivated for what you’re doing now

Remember what the holidays are all about.  A stressful and chaotic holiday season doesn’t have to be a given. Remember the holiday season is for celebration. This should be a joyful time of the year.  Take each day one at a time. Remember to focus on the now and enjoy each moment.

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