December 01, 2015

Maintaining Productivity Over the Holidays

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We just got back from the Thanksgiving holidays here and it's only a few short weeks to the next major holidays. We're full speed ahead until the new year, but when these next holidays hit, how do we stay productive?

Your mind has left the office and is already on your vacation in the Bahamas... but your body still has a few weeks of meetings and work to get done before you can join your mind on that blissful beach. You're not alone in struggling to stay productive while in the office around the holiday season, I'm sure you'll even notice that you and your coworkers are spending a little extra time each day chatting and getting distracted.



Before you enter full-on vacation mode, you might want to make sure you've wrapped everything up from 2015. You'll want to return to the office in the New Year with a fresh slate. The last thing you'll want to do is to clean up anything you left behind when your mind left the building for vacation. So take a deep breath and read on, we've got some of our favorite tips to maintain productivity over the holidays...and don't worry, you're not alone.

Our top tips for staying productive over the holidays:





Make a List



Yes, we know your desk is covered in sticky notes filled with lists but around the holidays, lists start to become essential to getting through those distracting couple of weeks. The most important part? Include all your personal matters alongside your work matters. Then, start to prioritize them all. During the holiday season, it feels like you've got more going on and less time than any other point in the year.

Getting it all done can be a struggle unless you choose to prioritize what you've got going on and get the more important things done first. When you map it all out, and yes that includes your kids' holiday performance at school, you can better visualize what's on your list and how exactly you'll get to it all!

Take a day



...or just an afternoon! Use it to rest, recharge, or get some of that holiday shopping done ahead of time, but do yourself a favor and stay away from your emails. If you're able to get some of the holiday stress out of the way and, more importantly, off your mind, you can return to the office after your mini-vacation with a clearer head. You'll be able to focus on what you've got to get done at work.

If coming into the office is getting to be too distracting, find out if working from home is an option for you. Instead of taking that extra long lunch with colleagues when you're at the office, you could be taking the time to wrap up a couple presents while you read through the emails building up in your inbox. It's all about finding your balance.

If taking a full day off isn't a possibility, then start working breaks into your schedule throughout the day. Studies have shown that following our bodies' "ultradian rhythms" is key to having the most productive day. This means that for every 90 minutes to two hours of work we do, we need a break. Think of it as your scientifically proved attention span. Once you start working past that two hour mark, you really stop being productive.

Find a way to work 15 minute breaks into your day to walk away from your desk, dance to some of your favorite holiday tunes or take a walk outside and you'll find that not only will you be more productive, but you may be a little happier too! Plus, who doesn't work a bit better during the day when you know you're going to have a break soon?

Collaborate



Everyone is feeling a little distracted around this time of year, so why not join forces with a colleague to collaborate on a project or two? Get out of the distracting office and head to a local coffee shop or quiet local library to work alongside one of your colleagues. Whether you're working on a project together, or just using each other as an accountability partner, you'll be sure to be more productive when you've got someone else helping to keep you on track.

Think about how effective online crowd-sourcing has recently become, now why wouldn't you do the same thing in person at your office? Pulling together a few minds to solve a problem or finish a project will not only help you maintain your productivity, but it may in fact have a more effective outcome than you could have ever expected.

Use this high energy time of the year to get creative too! If you have the time to tackle some of your goals from the year that you haven't reached yet and chat it over with your colleagues to get inspired. You never know what may come up to help you finish out the year with a bang, and how you can in turn help your colleagues reach their goals too. Nothing will feel better than working together to finish out your goals and head into the new year with a fresh start!

Stay Healthy



Nothing will slow you down like a nasty winter cold...or the dreaded flu. While you may be busy during the holiday season getting everything on your list checked off for work and your family, you can't forget taking care of yourself too! If you're sick, there's no way you'll be getting everything done, and you certainly won't be doing it well.

While the holiday office parties and happy hours are tempting, overdoing it on the booze and Christmas cookies is one of the best ways to send you quickly down the route of catching a cold. When you're creating that long To Do list, don't leave off some precious You time and head to your favorite yoga or spin class, or leave a couple extra minutes in the morning to walk to the office. No one likes the guy that brings a cold to the office during the holidays, or the cousin that sneezes into the pies...don't be that guy!

So, drink some extra water, up your vitamin C intake, don't overextend yourself, and make sure you're getting plenty of sleep. Okay, we can know that you already know all these things, but did you know that according to research from the Harvard Medical School, the average American loses 11 days a year in productivity because of their lack of sleep.



Getting a full night's sleep is the key to not only staying healthy, but it's also integral in keeping your brain functioning too! And we all know that not getting enough sleep is sure to make you cranky, and no one likes working alongside a cranky co-worker...it doesn't quite foster an amicable work environment.

The bottom line



We know that it's important to maintain productivity at all times of the year, but it always seems a bit harder to achieve during the holiday season. So, before you give up and start drinking eggnog at your desk all day, take a deep breath and head outside for a walk -- it may do wonders for your productivity at the office. Remember, everyone is feeling the same way so grab a coworker and commiserate... but then collaborate on a great project to end the year with a bang!