Holiday Survival Guide: How To Stay Productive Amidst The Holiday Cheer

Holidays are great and all, but the holiday splendor can be exhausting. Especially going from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas / New Year's in three consecutive months.

It all becomes a big blur of candy wrappers, Christmas music, and overeating in front of family members.

The holidays can be quite challenging, however, when you remember that you are an adult and still have a job you must work while Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas is playing on repeat around you.

When the holidays are all over the tv, social media, and Starbucks cups, it is hard to stay focused at the office. Luckily, a Forbes article offers some suggestions:

  1. Make a plan
  2. Take time off
  3. Don't multitask
  4. Exercise
  5. Collaborate
  6. Actually do the work...

Obviously the work still has to get done, so it is a matter of mentally saying "Let's keep working" while your brain is already focused on a Tryptophan-soaked nap.

The thing about multitasking is: there is no such thing as multitasking.

A much longer conversation could be had about this but for this subject it suffices to say that trying to multitask while your brain is already distracted can do more harm than good during the holidays. The article states:

"Instead of getting many jobs done at once, people 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 more wasted time when you have to fix issues later."

Your mind is already divided by family needs, vacation plans, and then work, so why divide the attention even further?

Focus on one task at a time in order to make sure it is completely finished and you can forget about it before moving on to the next one.

The suggestion to take time off does not encourage you to add more days to your holiday vacation but instead intentionally plan certain days to take off in order to run the errands and do the shopping that you have not done yet and have a hard time getting out to do in the evenings after work.

That way, you have a plan and you no longer have to stress about when you are going to be able to buy that sauce or those gifts. 

Speaking of a plan, by far the most important suggestion on the list is to make a plan for yourself during the holidays. Everyone's work, work style, family demands, and holiday traditions are different, so think about your own unique needs in preparation of the holiday based on your work demands.

What tasks can you predict will be most difficult to complete?

What tasks involve other people?

Schedule your weeks out in such a way that all things, including shopping and family time, are factored in with your work schedule.

Lastly, do not feel alone in this. Ask your colleagues how they are getting themselves through the holiday distractions, and look for opportunities to collaborate so that the members of your collective team or department does not feel stuck in a lot of individual experiences of stress.

After all, "your co-workers are going through the exact same issues you are with the holiday season, so don't go it alone - have team meetings where you figure out how you can all work together to make the end of the year run smoothly." 

Ironically, many people feel alone during the holidays under the many pressures on them from work, finances, travel, spouses, and family.

Ask yourself what your own needs are this holiday season and honor those so that neither your productivity nor your much needed time off is sacrificed.