How to Avoid Holiday Burnout at Work

woman at table with head in hands surrounded by gift-wrapping supplies

With the holiday season in full swing and 2019 staring us in the face, you may be finding it difficult to stay focused and motivated at work. You’ve been plugging away for the last 11 months, and, now that a break is near, it’s a struggle to keep up your end-of-the-year momentum and close out 2018 with high levels of energy and productivity. 

Don’t let fatigue and burnout affect your productivity level or the quality of your work by incorporating these practices into the final days and weeks of your routine:

1. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep

You may be tired of your workload, but at least you shouldn’t be physically tired at work, which can cause a range of negative effects, such as irritability, lack of focus, memory loss, diminished cognitive ability, a loss of motivation, and an overall decrease in satisfaction and happiness levels at work. Unless your basic health and wellbeing is taken care of, which in large part includes getting enough sleep every night, it will be nearly impossible for you to maintain consistently high energy levels all year round.

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2. Prioritize your lists

Stop yourself from getting too stressed out about everything you need to accomplish in 2019. Make a short list of the things that you absolutely must wrap up before your holiday break, and make these items your top priority.

3. Delegate if your load gets too heavy

Learning how and when to delegate tasks to your colleagues or team members is one of the most valuable leadership skills you can acquire. Being an effective leader or a productive professional does not mean doing every single thing yourself – in fact, that quickly starts to look like micromanaging, which is a very inefficient and toxic way to work.

4. Avoid meeting overload

Don’t schedule unnecessary meetings between now and the end of the year if something can be accomplished by email. Unnecessary meetings are a real time waster, and trying to find the time in your schedule to hold multiple meetings and tackle your workload can bring on unnecessary stress and fatigue.

5. Don’t go into “vacation mode” too early

It can be very tempting when you see the “finish line” – i.e. your holiday break – to go into vacation mode and mentally “check out” at work. Don’t get distracted by the upcoming holidays and start to neglect your end-of-year responsibilities. Stay focused, be in the moment when you’re at work, and try to minimize distracting thoughts about your upcoming break.

6. Work hard, play hard

You can still accomplish your final tasks of 2018 while still enjoying all of the opportunities the holidays bring to socialize – both at work and in your personal life. In addition to being great networking opportunities, the more positive connections and interactions you have with other people, the less likely you are to feel stressed or burned out about your end-of-year workload.

7. Take some time to de-clutter

If your office or workspace is cluttered up with 11 months worth of stuff, that kind of physical manifestation of the year you’ve had can really weigh you down mentally. The process of organizing your professional life can be cathartic and especially helpful as you prepare for a break and enter a new year with an organized workspace.

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