During the holidays, there are unique challenges to productivity. It can be difficult to stay on task and accomplish your objectives. Not only does everyone seem to have a hard time focusing, but you also have an increase in obligations. From holiday entertaining with family and friends, to finding time to squeeze in gift shopping, to keeping the kids busy while they are on break, this time of year put strain on your efforts to remain productive.
As we head into this bustling time of year, here are some things to keep in mind so that you are likely to maintain at least some of your productivity throughout:
Ordering your tasks by importance is the single most important thing you can do for your productivity -- no matter the time of year. Figure out what has to be done, even if nothing else is accomplished. Look at your schedule through the end of the year, and focus on the projects and tasks that are vital. Work on those things first, in order to avoid falling through on something truly important.
- Avoid Starting Something New
If at all possible, avoid starting a new project during the holiday season. Don’t take on new clients. Do your best to stay away from new work responsibilities. While this might not always be possible, try to keep new obligations to a minimum. Simply say, “I’d be happy to start after the New Year.” This tells others that you are willing, but that you understand your limitations during this time of year.
- Work with Others
In some cases, it’s impossible to avoid starting a new project during this time of year. If you can, try working with others. Share the work, and it will go much faster -- and maybe even be of higher quality. Delegate tasks (but be sensitive to others’ stress level this time of year), and consider accomplishing your non-work related tasks with others as well. Divide and conquer when it comes to cleaning the house, or shopping. Sharing the work takes some of the stress off, and it can help you get more done.
- Spread some Holiday Cheer
Don’t forget that you are more likely to get more done when you are happy. This means that you are welcome to spread a little holiday cheer of your own. Decorate your workspace a little bit, play Christmas music, and indulge in small treats. When you take time to be happy and get into the holiday spirit, you will feel less anxious, and have a better chance of maintaining your productivity.
- Be Flexible
Recognize that your schedule is going to be uneven during the holiday season. This means that you will need to be flexible in your scheduling. If it makes sense for your job, ask if you can work from home two or three times a week, so that you have a little more leeway for family events (you will still have to fulfill your work requirements, though). Also, be willing to stay a little later one or two evenings if you know that you are going to be taking time off later.
This type of flexibility means that it is especially important to prioritize your workload. Change your daily schedule to reflect your holiday work priorities. This might mean getting right into your daily tasks first thing, and saving the non-essential email, and other tasks until later.
And finally remember....
The holiday season is a fun time of year, but it can also strain your work situation, and provide productivity challenges. Recognize that you will have to do things differently during this time of year, and make an effort to adjust accordingly. Once you have a reasonably flexible plan that focuses on the most important tasks, you will be more likely to maintain an acceptable level of productivity between now and the New Year.
This guest post is written by Lior Levin, a marketing consultant for a company that provides diagnostics that can identify Targeted Cancer Therapies that are likely to work for the patient’s individual tumor. Lior also works for an inspection company that provides Pre shipment inspections.