Do you have a hard time getting any work done at the office during the holidays? I find myself constantly distracted by Christmas music, goodies coming into the office, decorations and lights, vendors dropping off a card with well wishes, and the temptation to get online to order one more gift. It is difficult to stay on task, meet deadlines and even put in that little extra time that may be required in the evenings or weekend.
It is always a struggle to balance work and family life, but the holidays add a whole new dimension! This is a social time of the year and everyone wants to spend as much time as possible with friends and family. Let’s face it, if you are not with your loved ones, you are probably sitting in your cubicle planning the next get together or thinking about the few gifts you can pick up on your lunch break.
Lindsey over at Grindstone offers some great advice on how to stay on top of our demanding jobs while all of that lovely holiday spirit is tempting us to cut out early.
- Prioritize that to-do list. What has to be done now? If there’s a new project that won’t be discussed until after the new year, put it on hold, no matter how excited you are. Try to focus on the things that have to be completed in the next six weeks. You can worry about everything else after the ball has dropped and your social commitments have returned to a sustainable level.
- Plan out your holidays. Get your game face on and apply some your business mindset to the holiday rush. Make your schedule is detailed and complete. Write out prep lists, so that you remember what you have to bring to certain engagements or errands that need run before you throw your own get together. Create a gift-giving budget, so that you won’t get overwhelmed by all the extra costs. Write out your present ideas for each special person in your life and cross them off the list once you’ve gotten their gift together. Attacking your social obligations in the same way that you would attack a hectic work week will make you feel more prepared and less stressed.
- Give yourself a break. During the holiday hustle, it’s easy to spend every waking second working or socializing. Try to carve out a little personal time. Most people need at least one evening a week to stay home, recharge and appreciate all those beautiful holiday decorations that you hopefully had time to put up.
- Outsource. Busy professionals know how to delegate. With professional shoppers, complimentary gift-wrapping and party-planning services, there is a lot of help available for those of us who can’t take time off to bring holiday cheer. Don’t worry, enlisting a little help doesn’t make you The Grinch.
- Keep your office all-business. I realize that decorating the office for the holidays is often a company tradition. In common areas, go for it. But in your personal space, it might be helpful to leave out the tinsel. The hardest part of working through the holidays is often the distractions that they bring. Keeping your workspace completely focused on the project at hand might make it easier to concentrate.