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Office Productivity during the Holiday Season
5 tips for wrapping up the year
How do you view the holiday season? If you are like most of us, your mind drifts to the idea of shopping, big dinners, and maybe even a long break from the office. Those can all be great things (with the possible exception of last-minute shopping), but they can also throw a wrench into your productivity and time management goals. Simply put, the four or five weeks that come between the end of November and January bring too many distractions for most of us to be as productive as we would like.
That is understandable, but you probably still have projects, deadlines, and obligations to deal with. And with the competition for jobs, customers, and promotions becoming more and more fierce by the day, it is important that you be able to balance the line between managing your time and enjoying the season.
With that in mind, here are a few tips for making the holiday season more productive:
1. Scale back your project list. Rather than expecting to accomplish as much as you normally would during the holidays, and possibly falling behind or being disappointed later, why not try to set the bar a little bit lower for the time between late November and early December? It can be hard to accept that you are not going to get much accomplished during the holidays, but that is much better than trying to do too much and finishing nothing.
2. Prioritize. The key to that strategy is figuring out which tasks and projects are most important to you (or possibly your supervisors) during the holiday season. See if you can key in on your 4 or 5 most critical items and focus your energy on the areas where it will have the most impact. For best results, get together with your managers, colleagues, or team members. Collectively, you should be able to agree on what is important while working out some realistic holiday timelines.
3. Leave some time for planning. The end of the year is not just for cramming to finish important projects –it is also a great time to look ahead on the calendar and see what you might like to accomplish for the next 12 months. If you have some freedom and flexibility in your calendar, try to leave a couple of days to take stock of where you are at, what you have accomplished so far, and what you want your goals to be for the coming year
4. Coordinate your schedules. Working with, or around, other people on your projects can be difficult in the best of times. At the holidays, when people are traveling, entertaining relatives, taking vacation time, and so forth, it is even tougher. Just as it is a good idea to work with others to identify a few key priorities, you could also try to coordinate your schedules early on so that you do not miss even more time to canceled meetings, chronically unanswered calls, and other holiday season delays.
5. Come back a bit early. While you probably do not want to come back from your holiday vacation too early, you might be able to make things easier for yourself by slipping into the office a couple of days ahead of the time that others are expecting you. That way, you will not have any important meetings or calls on the books, and you will have the opportunity to give yourself a day or two to organize and get back into the swing of things without much pressure.
The holidays can be a tough time from a productivity standpoint, but if you can manage to keep these tips in mind, there is no reason you cannot still make progress toward your biggest and most important goals. Once you do, it will be that much easier to sit back and enjoy some time with friends and family. Happy holidays!
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