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How to Stay Productive During the Winter Holidays

How to Stay Productive During the Winter Holidays

day_of_work

    It’s December and one side of my brain is already thinking about presents, imagining the warmth of home, and preparing a list of “must-buys” for Christmas entertaining . The other side ois stuck with the reality of my daily life: me, at the office, dealing with day-to-day tasks. My attention has been divided and this can be seen in my results. It’s not the best situation you want to deal with, especially when the boss has clear expectations from you and reminds you that holiday starts only on  the 24th of December. Therefore, we all most refocus and get concentrate to get things done in time. If this sounds like you, the tips listed below might help.

    1. Create shopping lists on the weekends. Gather with your family and write down everything you need to buy for Christmas: food, presents, etc. This is also the right moment to decide where you will go and to make reservation if applicable.

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    2. Beat the rush. To remain productive at work it’s important to make plans and schedule while you are home and to do this in time without delaying untilthe last moment. In this way you will not be stressed before Christmas.

    3. Dedicate your after-work time to online shopping. If you are searching for gifts and sales after work then you will not be tempted to do this at work the next day.

    4. Ask for favors. There’s nothing wrong in asking for help from your friends and family if you find yourself stressed by time.

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    5. Organize your work and get things done. Once you get to the office, forget about Christmas and organize your work. Schedule your tasks and start working.

    6. Deal with important tasks first. Morning is the most productive part of the day for most of us, so it’s better to get the most important tasks done in this part of the day. Doing this you might get some free minutes for daydreaming about the holidays in the afternoon (but don’t be too obvious).

    7. Steal time from your break if you want to check last-minute offers. If you know there will be a good promotional offer and you want to catch it, you can do this during you lunch break. But don’t waste all your time in front of computer eating junk food because this will definitely not increase your productivity.

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    8. Focus on your work not on how your vacation will be. I know the holiday spirit has caught hold of you, but stay on target. Try picturing yourself not taking that vacation because you lost your bonus due to sloppy work while you were daydreaming about your holiday trip.

    9. Avoid distractions. You will receive e-cards, your colleagues will go on about their vacations, but you have to ignore all that and stay focused. Don’t get involved. Choose an e-card and schedule it to be sent automatically to all your contacts and in this way you won’t have to worry you missed someone.

    10. Be consistent in your work. If you start falling behind, don’t give up! Take a 5 minute break and start over with new energy and fresh ideas.

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    11. Think about the consequences if you won’t finish the work. It’s not a nice approach but this might motivate you.

    Like everything else, we have to find a balance between work and Christmas preparations. Managers will not accept unfinished projects no matter how badly you need to go buy gifts for your family and friends. Moreover, you don’t want spend the Christmas Eve at the office finishing tasks that you’ve put off. Choose to be productive and you might receive a nice reward for your work.

    How do you stay focused at work with the holidays upon us? Share your strategies in the comments!

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    How to Stay Productive During the Winter Holidays

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    Last Updated on March 23, 2021

    Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

    Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

    One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

    The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

    You need more than time management. You need energy management

    1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

    How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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    I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

    I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

    2. Determine your “peak hours”

    Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

    Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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    My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

    In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

    Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

    3. Block those high-energy hours

    Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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    Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

    If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

    That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

    There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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    Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

    Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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