It's no secret that the holidays can be a totally bonkers time for most of us. Our schedules are thrown off, we're taking days away from work, our eating and sleeping schedules are out of whack, and we seem to continually have a red wine headache.
The happiest time of year can very quickly become the most hectic time of year, and things can often pile up and get overlooked and maybe pushed to after the holidays.
I don't know about you but, when I procrastinate and put things off, I can't enjoy my off time as much because I'm stuck thinking of all the things I'm going to have to do when I'm back. That when the worst feeling of all comes over me... DREAD.
To really enjoy the holidays and avoid all that gnarly dread, we want to help you stay productive and focused leading up to the holidays. We want you to start the new year (and a new decade!) off feeling organized and calm instead of chaotic and stressed.
Make a Plan
We all know the holidays are whacky, and it's crazy how they always seem to totally sneak up on us. Suddenly there are gifts to buy, groceries to get, concerts and pageants to attend, parties to find a new dress for… the list goes on. The best thing to get through without losing your freaking mind is to make a (feasible) plan and Stick. To. It.
Talk to your team and work and figure out what the highest priority tasks are and get them done first.
This also goes for your personal life. What needs to be done now? When can we fit it in? What can wait?
Put it all in the calendar and follow through. If you are organized and productive, you will be able to so much more present when it's time to unwind and spend time with loved ones.
Make Time For Yourself
Easier said than done, but over the next couple of weeks, try not to let your entire schedule get out of whack. Try to wake up at a similar time and to go to bed at a reasonable time (but also… have fun, you deserve it!). Make sure you eat your vegetables and are taking time to exercise and move. Even if it's not the same level of exercise you usually do, your body will thank you.
Leading up to the holidays 30 minutes of exercise a day can really help reduce the amount of stress you feel. You'll be more likely to stay focused and on task and thinking clearly. More focus means more work is done, which means less work over the holidays to fret about!
We also recognize that forced family time during the holidays can get pretty overwhelming, so we also encourage you to set and enforce boundaries. Don't feel guilty about taking quiet time to yourself and stepping away. It's a great excuse to squeeze in an outdoor walk or sneak away to the gym or a yoga class for a quick little exercise. We believe in quality not quantity when it comes to pretty much everything and the same goes for family time. If you're feeling overwhelmed, recognize those feelings, and honour them. Do something that helps re-center yourself and then re-join the party as the best version of yourself.
Limit Your To-Do List
We've all got so many different engagements and commitments in December that we don't usually have, so there's no use in overextending yourself. It's worth taking a good look at the to-do list and prioritizing and maybe pairing down what you have to do. If you usually have 6 tasks to complete, maybe pair it down to 4. This way, you're not setting yourself up for failure.
When you're in the office, focus on one task at a time. Most people are terrible at multitasking, even if they think they're great at it. Instead of getting many jobs done at once, they actually just slow themselves down by trying to divide their attention. When you multitask, you're also a lot more likely to make mistakes, which means even more wasted time when you have to fix issues later.
If you find yourself opening up extra tabs to check your email or trying to write a report while on a phone call, stop. You'll save time by giving one item your full attention.
Take Fewer Meetings
Meetings can be a huge time suck. Valuable time that could be spent completing more urgent tasks that need to be completed before we all take our holiday vacations.
Can things be communicated in a well-written email or put off until after the holidays? Maybe consider postponing meetings in the next couple of weeks until after the new year when everyone is refreshed and ready to take the new year on head first.
We love collaborating and working with our team. Still, during such a hectic time of the year, it could be useful to collaborate in different ways. Your co-workers are going through the exact same issues you are with the holiday season, so don't go it alone. Find out how you can all work together to make the end of the year run smoothly. This is particularly important if many of your team members are taking time off. Communicate about how you'll handle the workload when people are out of the office.
If lots of people will be gone on the same days, come up with a plan to make sure the remaining employees aren't saddled with an overwhelming amount of work. Decide to work ahead or delay projects to make sure everyone can handle his or her workload… and maybe decide all this over slack or email- not a meeting. ;)
Avoid Shopping at Work
Okay- maybe you just lol'd at this BUT we think it's worth suggesting! We know how easy it is to open up Amazon and knock a few things off your personal to-do list while you're at work, but this suggestion is TWOFOLD.
1- It's just another thing distracting you from getting your work tasks completed in an efficient and timely manner.
2- It could prevent you from impulse buying and then regretting all the money you mindlessly spent at 4 pm last Tuesday. Take time to plan a thoughtful gift (if you need suggestions, we've got gift guides here!) and both your wallet and person you're gifting to will appreciate it.
The holidays are a coo-coo bananas time for all of us, but it doesn't mean your work or productivity need to suffer. By taking some time and thoughtfully planning out the next couple of weeks, you can easily find yourself starting off 2020, feeling refreshed, relaxed, and caught up.
And isn't that the dream? Feeling on top of it all despite the craziness life throws at you?
Let's get those google cals working and conquer the last few weeks of 2019 in style! Do you have ways of coping with the hecticness of the season? Let us know, we're hungry for new and creative ways to stay productive (and sane) at any time of the year.