The holidays are a busy time of year. There are happy hours, gift exchanges, family parties, and school concerts, not to mention all the shopping, gift-wrapping, traveling, and food prepping that needs to happen. How can anyone possibly squeeze in time to go to work? But your job needs to get done, and if you do it right, you can be more productive in less time and celebrate the holidays right. Here’s how to stay productive during the holiday season.
Be mindful of your time
At the start of your week, examine your to-do list, and set priorities. Which tasks are essential, and which are most urgent? Do your best to power through your list, and at the end of the day, reevaluate and set your priorities for the next day. If you have a plan for each hour of the day, you’ll be less likely to fall victim to distractions.
Treat yourself to breaks
Short breaks make us more productive, so take occasional 10-minute breaks—when you feel overwhelmed or overworked—to return to work with renewed energy and focus. Take a walk, chat with a coworker, have a snack, or watch silly videos—anything to rest your brain.
Take a personal day
We all have growing lists of errands during the holidays—selecting the perfect gift, mailing a package, and scheduling appointments. Instead of trying to squeeze it all in after work or on the weekends, relax a little bit by taking a personal day to accomplish your list. You might even be able to have a nice lunch, clean your house, and get a haircut while you’re at it.
This is an important one. You’re probably bombarded with invitations to festive get-togethers during the holidays—work parties, family dinners, networking events, and parties with friends. You can’t possibly do them all. Figure out which are the most important to you and only go to those. If you try to go to everything, you’ll be stressed and miserable instead of relaxed and jovial.
Get things done
Since you’re already pressed for time during the holidays, don’t make it worse by procrastinating important tasks. Take care of things now—in the present moment—before something else gets in the way. Those tasks will pile up and accumulate until you have absolutely no time to get any of it done. Most of us work better under pressure, but the stress of the holidays is real without having to put off your responsibilities.
Be realistic about what your holiday season will look like. Communicate to your spouse, boss, coworkers, and anyone else who’s relevant how much you can do and how available you’ll be. If you have a significant work commitment the same night as an important family dinner, figure out which one you’re going to and tell the other party so you can avoid miscommunications and added drama.