How to Stay Productive During the Holidays

Career Blog

As another year comes to a close, we look forward to some well-deserved rest and time off to celebrate with family and friends. Of course real-world obligations don’t disappear because the calendar is dotted with holidays. Bills arrive along with Christmas cards and our ever-present work demands can put the humbug in anyone’s holiday spirit.

To stay sane and productive this season, be sure to anticipate these three ghostly distractions before they curdle your eggnog.  

  1. The Expanded TO DO list: Whether you shop on-line or brave the stores, the added errands can compete with workplace objectives.
  2. Social Obligations: Shuttling kids to special events, attending workplace parties, and planning, hosting, and attending family celebrations take considerable mental energy. This can be especially draining for introverts.
  3. Time and Money Matters: Extra expenses and coworkers jockeying for vacation time can add steam to the workplace pressure cooker. Even if you’ve secured the PTO, balancing tight budgets, and getting work done before you head off for the holidays can be distracting.

So how can you keep these ghosts at bay and find the ideal balance between productivity and merriment during the holidays?

  1. Remember Your Why: Holidays are a time to feel joy, express gratitude, can share warmth. So purposefully limit your list. If it’s not sparking joy or gratitude consider striking it. The whitespace will help you focus on work projects.
  2. Just Say No…Thank You: You’re not contractually obligated to attend every social event, and this includes all the office holiday parties. If a key work project looms, tackle it first. If you let it slide in favor of optional affair, it will undoubtedly haunt you while you’re off.
  3. Embrace Balance: Time and money are finite, but time is the real rate limiter. We each only have so much. Make the most of yours by deciding what is truly critical at work. Most projects aren’t critical and can be shelved for a few days.

Productivity is not what we once thought. Sure, somethings are critical and require immediate attention. That’s why emergency rooms are always open. But unless your work is actually life or death…it’s, well, not.

When you give yourself the gift of whitespace, you’ll return more focused and effective than if you simply tried to power through the season.  Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is to purposefully procrastinate. 

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