In a nutshell: ’Tis the season to be busy at work. Here’s now to stay productive without missing out on all the fun.
Sure, your year-end projects at work are on your mind. But so is holiday decorating, wrapping gifts, hosting relatives, baking cookies, attending parties and holiday shopping … to name a few!
How do you enjoy the holiday season while still being productive at work? These 10 tips will help you get through this jam-packed time of year:
Plan, Plan and Plan
Create a calendar when holiday party planning and work deadlines start rolling in. Putting all your priorities on one calendar will keep you organized. Consider creative scheduling options for work (so you can still meet those end-of-the-year project goals) if you have personal holiday obligations coming up.
Create a To-do List
Don’t be afraid to write lists upon lists during the holiday season. We often have so much going on that it’s easy to forget what we need to do next. Keep a work project list at the office and a personal to-do list at home. Even if you have to rewrite these lists every day, be sure they are up to date in terms of priority. If you can avoid adding personal tasks, it will help you focus on what you should be really spending your time on at work.
Separate Work and Play
In a time of work-life integration, you may be tempted to do holiday shopping online while you’re at work or finish up that last work task at home before you head out to your holiday party. This is the time to separate your work and your personal life. While multitasking sounds like a good idea, it might have you bouncing between too many things and not focused enough on any of them to be productive. Work on something until it’s finished, then move on to the next thing on the list.
Make Time for Regular Exercise, and Stick To Your Sleep Schedule
Taking care of yourself physically will help you get through the holidays. You may be eating more unhealthy foods or drinking alcoholic beverages when you typically don’t, but if you keep some of your physical routine intact, it will help ward off the stress that comes with the season. Remember all these things come into play when it comes to your metal acuteness at work, so don’t just let everything go if you can help it.
Know When to Say No
Are there any stretch projects at work that you can delay until the new year? Or maybe some personal obligations that can wait to January? If there are any activities that you don’t particularly enjoy, say “no, thanks.” Don’t force yourself to participate if you don’t want to. Same goes for work projects that go above your job description; be realistic about what you can handle this time of year.
Set Goals for Finishing Projects
Instead of starting a whole bunch of new initiatives while coworkers are in and out of the office and people may be hard to reach, focus on finishing everything you started this year. By concentrating on tying up the loose ends, you’ll cross projects off your to-do list faster and feel more accomplished. This will also clear your plate for a fresh start come the new year.
Even if you’re trying your hardest to stay focused, the office might be all abuzz with talk about holiday happy hours and potlucks. Tune out distractions by putting on your headphones and finding a holiday playlist (or maybe a non-holiday playlist if you’re tired of hearing “Jingle Bells” for the thousandth time this month). It’ll signal to your coworkers that you’re busy and keep you accountable.
Use a Day or Two of Personal Time
While there’s work to get done, there are likely traditions you’ll want to keep that make it feel like the holiday season. By taking a day off to bake cookies with your children or go shopping with your mom, you’ll feel like you’re fitting in holiday fun without stressing about balancing everything at once. You’ll return to work the next day raring to go.
Use Quiet Time at Work to Power Through
Just like you may take a day off work here and there through the holiday season, so will your coworkers. There may be some days that the office is pretty quiet. Take full advantage of the quiet time by knocking out several of the outstanding tasks from the year that never made it to the top of your priority list. With fewer opportunities for issues to pop up, you will have longer stretches of time to focus on only the tasks at hand for that day. Make it your goal, and get it done.
Enjoy Holiday Parties Responsibly
Being responsible doesn’t just mean refraining from drinking too much alcohol at your office holiday party. Whether it’s a personal or professional outing, consider your work obligations. For example, don’t stay out too late if you have a 7 a.m. meeting with executives at the office the next day. You’ll certainly regret it!