December is a short, hectic month as most companies only have two full working weeks. On top of that, with shorter sunsets, shopping, holiday parties, and family gatherings, the odds of getting any work done seem stacked against us. Checking personal and work tasks off during the holiday season can feel like a never-ending to-do list. To help you stay on track for 2023, we put together a list of tips for you to follow for a productive holiday season.
Time is your power!
Before the new year, there is a rush to attend as many holiday networking events and gatherings as possible. Try shifting some social events to January to avoid feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. This will free up the little time you have in December to start prioritizing tasks and leave you with a full calendar to start 2023. Be wary of getting pulled into calls or meetings that weren’t planned. Is it a priority before the year ends? Keep the agenda to the point when you are in a meeting, and come prepared. Your colleagues' time is just as limited; they will surely appreciate it too. Lastly, be prepared to say "no" when necessary. Though it’s easier said than done, keep in mind the reason you feel the request is a low priority and suggest an alternative meeting time or deadline in the future.
What stops you from getting things done? Distractions pop up year-round but feel more apparent during the holiday season. You’ll need to eliminate some side tasks during the holidays that aren’t as urgent to keep your attention focused on the priorities you set. Making a "don’t-do" list can help pinpoint distractions as they arise so you can quickly shift your attention. We asked the team to share their biggest distractions to help inspire your list:
Don’t work on the weekends
Don’t work on a task longer than the time allotted; set time limits
Don’t say "yes" to everything
Don't check e-mail constantly; designate specific times of day
Don’t be tempted by social media networking; place your phone in another room
Set small goals & have a plan
Would you show up to an interview unprepared? Most likely (and hopefully) not! The holiday season is no different, so it’s a great idea to have a game plan ahead of time. If you’re having trouble prioritizing your goals, start with 1-2 key tasks/projects that you can work on throughout your time off. Breaking these two projects down into smaller daily tasks will help you from feeling overwhelmed with completing multiple side projects. Rather than doing a little bit of everything, try to focus on achieving the two goals at hand so you can enjoy the break with loved ones. Also, make sure to plan out your daily tasks to ensure you don’t get sidetracked or bogged down by emails. If you’re traveling for the holidays, it can be challenging to separate work from festivities. Plan your day so that you can be worry-free as you clock out to join the fun. Knowing you have time to disconnect will make it easier to complete the task in the morning. Our Marketing & Business Development Coordinator, Lauren McGuinness, finds that using pen and paper is the best way to stay organized when traveling/ outside the office. Nothing feels better than crossing a task off of your to-do list!
Take care of yourself
During the holidays, it can be easy to forget to take the proper time to rest amidst gatherings, extra food, and alcohol. “I’ll catch up on sleep this weekend”, you’ll tell yourself. But don’t forget, productivity thrives off of rest. Though it’s easy to let self-care slide, try to stick to your current routine when possible. The holiday season can be unpredictable, so maintaining a set schedule can help reduce stress and anxiety. If you do have a busy day, carve out extra time to exercise or go on a walk. Make sure to drink plenty of water, and occasionally try to balance out those holiday treats with a healthy meal. Your body and mind will thank you as you head back into the office!
Staying focused during the holidays sounds impossible, but a productive December leads to a restful start to 2023. Enjoy your break; you deserve it!
Best wishes for a happy holiday season and a productive new year! If a new job is a resolution of yours, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us: [email protected].