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10 Ways To Fight Holiday Depression

10 Ways To Fight Holiday Depression

Holiday depression occurs when Christmas isn’t so merry and the holidays aren’t so happy. What should you do when this happens to you? How should you cope with this depressing experience? How can you fight holiday depression and get back to work?

Get out of that bed. Take a bath. And stop slouching!

These 10 stress-kicking and anxiety-busting tips will kick holiday depression away from you faster than you can say “Ho, ho, ho!”

1. Manage your expectations

What you’re doing: We’ve never quite gotten rid of the notion that the Christmas season is full of magic and endless possibility. As such, you think that just because it’s Christmas, your landlord wouldn’t charge you rent, your boss wouldn’t yell at you and your long-time crush would finally notice you. Hey, maybe people you’re not close with would automatically give you presents, too!

What you should do instead: Newsflash‒Christmas won’t magically transform your life! You’re still going to experience the same routine‒unless you do something about it. The holiday season may allow you to take breaks more and to eat more, but it will also let you spend more and expect more. Think realistically.

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2. Give back to the community

What you’re doing: You are buying extravagant gifts and comparing the prices of Christmas presents that you receive and the Christmas presents that you give. No wonder you’re depressed‒you’re not content with what you have!

What you should do instead: Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. Instead, feel better by asking your loved ones to come with you and spend a whole day with people who need more than you do. Go to your local orphanage. Help out at the soup kitchen. Hand out gifts to hospital patients. Give with a big heart and you’ll soon feel richer and happier.

3. Turn off the television (and don’t look at friends’ Facebook updates)

What you’re doing: You’re watching reality TV shows and celebrity news. Celebrity A spent Christmas traveling all over the world and Celebrity B spent New Year’s buying a brand new castle-like mansion. To make things worse, Friend A is going to a cruise to Europe while you’re stuck at work!

What you should do instead: Stop comparing your life with the lives of celebrities and billionaires. Contentment is the thief of joy, remember? Turn these holiday depression triggers off and no, unless you want to feel bad about yourself, do not look at them.

4. Spend time simply with significant people in your life.

What you’re doing: You go to amazing parties with expensive food and unlimited alcohol. Everything’s great except for one thing: you’re not spending this with the people who truly matter to you.

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What you should do instead: Forget the booze and the hors d’oeuvre. Why don’t you make a minimalist pasta dish, bring a pitcher of iced tea, bake a whole batch of cookies and ask your loved ones for a lovely picnic one afternoon? All the food and the luxury in the world are meaningless without the people you love, anyway.

5. Play the “Gratitude Game” with yourself.

What you’re doing: You take note of every nuisance that happens in your everyday life. That one-hour traffic which made you late, that jerk who stole your parking space and that waiter who served your food cold‒why are you paying attention to these things?

What you should do instead: Every night, before you go to bed, write something that you’re absolutely thankful for. It doesn’t have to be something extravagant like buying a yacht for yourself. Something short and sweet like your mother calling you to check up on you would do.

6. Listen to an inspirational talk about personal growth.

What you’re doing: You complain. Most of the time. Why? It’s because all you hear about on the radio is a mockery, a criticism or a snide comment about something.

What you should do instead: Download inspirational podcasts and listen to them while you’re on the way to work.

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7. Have a “Cost-Effective Challenge” and figure out innovative ways to treat yourself.

What you’re doing: You spend $200 for a single dinner because you’re feeling the effects of holiday depression. You book a session at one of the most luxurious spa places because you want to boast to your friends that you can afford to go there. You do excessive retail therapy and buy everything you’ve gotten your hands on.

What you should do instead: Have a simple chocolate fondue. Make your own spa session at home. Go to a local dollar store and buy five items that you really want. Having fun doesn’t mean breaking the bank!

8. Do MORE.

What you’re doing: You’re overbooking yourself to the point that you spend the night drinking away all your troubles and you spend the morning eating away all your worries? Stop.

What you should do instead: Before you mock this tip, hear me out. Doing MORE doesn’t mean that you have to be busier‒MORE actually stands for Move, Oxygenate, Rest & Eat.

9. See the joy in every moment and laugh a lot!

What you’re doing: You frown. You cry. You furrow your eyebrows. Mind the wrinkles, my friend!

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What you should do: Watch funny YouTube videos. Improvisational comedy shows like Whose Line Is it Anyway? and Improv-A-Ganza are great choices.

10. Spend 15 minutes on it.

What you’re doing: You procrastinate up until the last minute. So, when the deadline’s nearer, you struggle to finish everything. As a result, you’re left with a pair of eyebags, a runny nose and a sloppy result.

What you should do instead: We know that it’s hard to get any work done, especially during the holidays. However, don’t let this stop you. Your bills will always come, so you should always put an effort to do something worthwhile. If you can’t finish a whole report in one day, start earlier and work on it for at least 15 minutes. Just 15 minutes would do.

Minute by minute, this 15-minute working time would surely make a difference.

More by this author

Lianne Martha Maiquez Laroya

Lianne is a licensed financial advisor, Registered Financial Planner, entrepreneur and book author.

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Last Updated on January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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