How to Conquer More This Holiday Season
‘Tis the season to work smarter and not harder!
The holidays can be the most wonderful time of the year. If you’re like me, it is all about spending time with family and friends, office parties, baking sweets, vacations, and shopping for last-minute gifts.
However, Christmas is not only the most wonderful time of the year, it’s the busiest too.
It can also be the most stressful.
So often, I hear my friends and colleagues tell me that they don’t have enough time to get everything done. Cookies need to be made for the holiday bake sale. The year-end report hasn’t been started and it’s due next week. Their child has a soccer tournament in another city which means more time away from work. Relatives start arriving soon and the guest bedroom hasn’t been made up yet because it’s cluttered with clothes and items you no longer use. Somehow, instead of a guest bedroom, it is now the catch-all room.
And so on…and so forth.
Are We More Productive During the Winter?
A study at Harvard researched and discovered that we are our most productive during the winter.
How is this possible?
Researchers tracked employees working at a bank in Tokyo, and found that their most productive days were bad weather days, and they were the least productive on nice days.
When it’s cold and dark outside, you don’t mind staying in an office, so I can understand how this would lead to higher productivity.
6 Ways to Boost Your Productivity this Holiday Season
During the holidays, most people are busier than ever. There are lots of extra pressures on the home and work front. Getting through the season with a smile while still remaining blissfully productive at work is a success in my book.
There is a definitive how-to-stay motivated and productive during the holidays without losing your mind.
Have a Game Plan
If you’be been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I am a huge believer in planning ahead. Maintaining productivity during the holiday season is really a matter of staying organized.
Having this plan will help your productivity in two ways. First, when you know exactly what you’ll be doing ahead of time, you can focus exclusively on each task when it’s time to work on it, instead of trying to prioritize on the fly or juggle multiple projects together. This not only gets the tasks done more quickly, it also helps ensure you don’t have to re-do them later. Second, if you include some foresight in your plan, you can get a good head start on the big projects coming up early next year. When everyone else comes back from the holidays scrambling to catch up, you’ll already be well underway.
Outsource Your Woes
I have said it time and time again.
“What’s the best use of my time? If not me, then who? If not now, then when?”
During the holidays, it’s even more imperative to decide if certain tasks can be done by you, if not, why not consider outsourcing? Contact a virtual assistant for all those cumbersome tasks (Better yet, call me).
By outsourcing to a virtual assistant, you can save yourself the grief and rest easy knowing your business is in safe hands.
Here are a few tasks that you can outsource: Clean up your email marketing list to prepare for the end of the year; Update your websites and other social media accounts; Make gift suggestions and/or track down hard to find gift items at the best prices; Handle all travel arrangements and/or accommodations for you and your guests; Arrange for home cleaning or rug cleaning for before and after the holidays; and Find new contacts and business leads on LinkedIn.
The list can go on!
Now, don’t you feel much better getting those pesky tasks off your to-do list?
Maximize Your Lunch Hour
I will use my lunch hour as a time to complete those pesky tasks that only take a few minutes to complete. I will do my shopping online at my favourite stores. It keeps me away from the mall and that bustling environment, which, in my opinion, does not provide that calming environment.
Other times, I am writing my Christmas cards out, stamping and putting them in the mailbox right away. For years, I was doing this but kept forgetting to stop my the post office and actually mail my Christmas cards. I had stacks of old Christmas cards that just sat there. Now, it’s all about doing it all at once.
Other tasks that can be completed are making a to-do list for after work or needs to be done by the end of the weekend. I will also buy all my gift wrapping supplies at the local dollar store. Another task that can be done quick and easily.
Make Time to Recharge
Did you notice that I said “make time” and not “take time”?
No list of holiday productivity tips would be complete without this one – We all need a little time off, to relax and recharge.
Whatever plans you make, be sure to build in time to do things that make you happy and release your stress. Try to take at least some time off work, even if you don’t travel anywhere. Spend time with loved ones. Treat yourself to something rewarding. If you can’t take time off, be sure to take your breaks at work — and get away from your desk when you do, so you’re not distracted by the projects waiting for you. When your head is clear and your body is relaxed, you’ll be able to work faster and smarter.
Squeeze in a Workout
The holiday season can make keeping to a consistent workout routine difficult; between the chilly temperatures, shorter daylight hours, travel to visit with family, food-oriented gatherings and frantic shopping schedules, squeezing in physical activity is tough.
It is totally understandable. (I am huge procrastinator when it comes to working out.)
At the same time, staying active in some way will give you energy, reduce stress and tension and, of course, help mitigate some of the extra calories you may be eating.
Schedule that workout in your planner. Once you schedule it in, there is less of a chance that you won’t go to the gym.
Crank the Tunes
As I am writing this blog post, I have the TV turned to a music channel. I love having background music on while I work. While others may like complete silence, I find that I am more productive when there is music playing in the background. It’s not the top 40 or the alternative rock music that I normally listen to but the playlist is usually instrumental. I found early on that if I play the top 40, I will tend to start singing which then distracts me from the task at hand.
More modern studies would argue that it perhaps isn’t the background noise of the music itself, but rather the improved mood that your favorite music creates that is the source of this bump in productivity.
Here is an 8 Hour Christmas Music Instrumental Playlist
Between following these productivity measures, take some time to do things you enjoy. The festive season lends itself to treats so why not grab a Starbucks Caramel Brulée Latte on your break or a mulled wine after work.
Never fear, with boosted Christmas cheer can come boosted productivity!
How do you stay productive during the holidays? Share your secret in the comments below.
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