How to Stay Productive at Work During the Holidays
It can be hard to stay focused at work during a regular week with open offices, invitations for coffee and the abyss that is the internet. But the holidays pose a whole new challenge. Excitement builds and there is seemingly always something going on at the office, from sweets in the kitchen to gift exchanges and holiday lunches. Not to mention the constant emails from retailers with new deals and your personal holiday to-do list.
So, how do you complete what you need to do for your job before you sign off for the holidays? Here’s how to block out the holiday madness at work so you can focus for at least a few hours a day.
Write it All Out
Write down everything and anything you need to get done before the end of the year. Yes, you probably have daily or weekly to-do lists, but this one needs to be all-encompassing. Once you have everything on paper or in a document on your computer, put it somewhere you are forced to look at it every day. Maybe it’s taped to your computer monitor or the first thing that pops up when you open your laptop. Wherever you put it, make sure it’s visible so you have a constant reminder when you’re tempted to spend another hour searching for the perfect gifts for your in-laws.
Give Yourself Deadlines
Once you know exactly what you have to complete before you head off for the holidays, impose your own deadlines. These could be weekly leading up to the end of the year or daily if you need more structure. And, if you find that you weren’t as productive as you needed to be in the beginning of the month, you can always continue to move around said deadlines or switch to daily ones to ensure you stay on track.
When you get into the office in the morning, it’s easier to get focused when you know exactly what you need or want to get accomplished that day. If you’re in a job that has hard deadlines already, consider breaking down your projects or tasks into smaller items so you’re not rushing to complete everything at the last minute. Basically, hold yourself accountable in whatever way works best for your position.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
It’s the holidays, everyone is busier than usual. You’re going to get distracted and some days and weeks will be more productive than others. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a day where you miss your self-imposed deadline. It’s not worth the additional stress at this time of year. Instead, take a breath and start fresh the next day. Move your deadlines around if possible and know that it’s a new day or week and you will get it all done.
Wrap Up Early
That being said, build in some wiggle room on your deadlines when you can. That way, when you give into the cookie swap happening in the conference room, your whole week won’t be derailed. Be realistic on what’s going to get completed in a day or week and build in buffer days to tie up loose ends and complete last-minute projects or miscellaneous tasks.
The holidays are supposed to be a joyful time full of family and friends. Remember that on your most stressful day and then take these tips into account so the weeks leading up to the end of the year are as enjoyable as possible.