How To Be Productive During The Holiday Season
( guest post by Kiera Abbamonte
When the holiday season rolls around, all filled with cheer, the nights may be silent, but the days are crazy. And small business owners have it twofold. This time of year, you’re bound to find yourself busy as an elf no matter what business you’re in.
The good news is we have your definitive how-to for staying productive during the holidays without losing your mind. You might even have a little fun, too!
Get In The Mood
When you look past all the commitments and stress, the holidays really are the most
wonderful time of the year. Despite just being fun, keeping this in mind and embracing the mood of the season can actually help you stay productive, too!
Getting into the holiday mood can help you to feel less stressed, which ultimately helps you get more done and enjoy yourself while you do it.
It can be hard to feel that holiday cheer when your to-do list is looming large, so don’t be afraid to crank those Michael Bublé carols, rock your favorite Santa hat, and indulge in a Starbucks holiday drink. (Red coffee cups are GREAT for stirring the holiday mood!)
Make Work Fun
Whether you have employees, partners, or it’s just you, you can’t underestimate bringing a little fun and holiday cheer to the workplace. Taking time to relax and recharge will have huge benefits on your productivity.
To make your office [jingle bell] rock, try planning a holiday party for everyone on your team. Even if it’s just a 30-minute Frank Sinatra jam fest, spreading the holiday mood is super important. If you want, you can even purchase gifts!
It also helps to be as flexible as possible about work schedules. After all, the weather outside IS pretty frightful. Allowing everyone including yourself to work from home can lighten a huge burden and help keep stress to a minimum.
Keep Your Energy Up
Between the turkey, the 4:00 PM sunset, and the seemingly endless preparation, the holiday season can be a black hole when it comes to energy. Finding a way to stay energized and ready to go is absolutely key to maintaining your productivity.
When you need an extra hour in the day, your workout can seem like an easy target. Making time for some physical activity is a great way to increase your energy level, though. Avoiding sugar binges and having frequent, high-protein snacks—like almonds—can also help you avoid the holiday slump. (We know it’s hard with all those cookies lying around!)
Physical activity and healthy(ish) eating will help you sleep in heavenly peace and wake up energized.
Rescue Your Time
When it comes to trying to be more productive, there’s nothing quite as sobering as an app that tracks just what you’re doing with your time every day. RescueTime can tell you exactly how long you spend doing less productive things (PINTEREST, am I right?!) to help you better manage your time.
Their free forever plan, RescueTime Lite, allows you to track how you spend your time and set goals (like less than 1 hour a day on email). RescueTime Premium lets you set alerts for when you’ve met or exceeded your goals, block distracting websites, and track time away from your computer. And it’s only $9 a month!
Tracking and evaluating your productivity is absolutely HUGE when it comes to managing it. Embracing tools that can help can make that task a whole lot easier.
This one’s important 365 days a year, planning ahead is even more critical when schedules get über busy. With a million and one things going on, it’s harder to remember everything, so keeping a calendar updated is super helpful.
Once you know what you’re doing and when you can take other steps to reduce your stress and workload. If you know that you’re on vacation the week of Christmas, you can make an effort to finish projects before you leave. That way, you can truly enjoy your time away from the office( and don't forget to set up your out of office emails)
Planning ahead also helps you avoid a crisis of hired help. If you have employees, coordinate holiday vacations and PTO ahead of time, to ensure that everything that needs doing gets done. You can also hire a virtual assistant if needed ( click here to find out more)
Prioritize And Know How Long Tasks Will Take
Prioritizing your to-do list is important all year round, but during the holiday season, it’s even more crucial. Knowing what you absolutely need to get done today, this week, this month helps you complete those tasks with less stress.
Once you’ve decided what’s super important, try to get the big, critical tasks done first. That way, if you have to drop a task last minute, it’s likely to be less imperative.
Determining priority for your work can also help you figure out how long each task will take. If you find yourself with a spare 20 minutes while the cutouts bake, you’ll know exactly what you can get done before the timer hits zero.
Budget Time For Holiday Tasks
Transitioning from work to holiday and back to work several times throughout the day can be exhausting and ultimately make you less productive. It may seem trivial, but budgeting time into your daily or weekly schedule to complete holiday tasks is a big must.
Whether it’s decorating the house, shopping for gifts, or baking cookies, it’s important that you block off enough time to get your holiday tasks done. Budgeting this time into your schedule will help you focus on your work and feel more relaxed about getting things done.
In addition to helping you worry less about your holiday tasks, they’re a nice break from work that can help you recharge and be more productive when you get back to work!
No matter what, your schedule is probably much more packed during the holidays than the rest of the year. That’s okay. Be realistic about how much time (and effort!) you have to offer and don’t overschedule yourself.
The most important part of this is not being afraid to say no. Whether you get a million party invitations or a million new business contracts, it’s okay to say no when your sanity is at stake. There’s nothing worse than burnout at this time of year.
Not taking on anything new will contribute loads to your holiday state of mind, so make yourself a reasonable schedule and stick to it!
Rock Around That Christmas Tree
Well, it IS beginning to look a lot like Christmas, so get to hacking that productivity! With our tricks and a little holiday cheer, you’ll be well on your way to a productive, stress-free holiday season.
Previously the Content Marketing Manager for LogMeIn and Grasshopper, Kiera's now a freelance writer specializing in writing blog content for e-commerce and SaaS companies. She's written for Kissmetrics, Help Scout, BigCartel, and of course, Grasshopper. Catch up with her on Twitter @kieraabbamonte.