5 ways to stay productive before Christmas

Put the mince pie down and walk away. Slowly.

by Arun Kakar
Last Updated: 18 Dec 2017

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, if you hadn’t noticed already, but hardly the most productive. Colder weather, darker mornings and the impending thought of Christmas are enough to sap at the motivation of even the most stimulated Santa.

Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to keep on top of things over the holiday season.

1. Get as much done before Christmas as you can

It’s tempting to wind things down at the end of the year, but be careful not to fall into the ‘I’ll do it when I’m back’ state of mind. Do you really want your ‘New Year new you’ to be haunted the ghost of work past? Christmas has a strange way on creeping up on us all, so make sure that you know what to stay on top of for when it does come around. Get the least appetising tasks out of the way first before gliding into the more manageable stuff later on.

2. Avoid multitasking

The holiday season comes with a whole list of things to to do: Christmas shopping, card sending, festivity planning… Make sure not to take on too much at the same time or it’ll impact your ability to do each task individually. Taking a client call while doing some last minute Christmas shopping online for example could be potentially disastrous.

‘There are so many competing demands and expectations during the holidays that it is very easy to get overwhelmed and even burn out,’ says Michael Kerr, president of Humor at Work. The classic productivity tips of writing to do’s and refining schedules are extra important during the Christmas period so that work tasks don’t spill into time spent outside of the office.

3. Manage expectations

It can be tempting to take work home to stay away from the office, but this should only be done if it is essential.

‘Perhaps ringfence some time each day to check emails if required, or even try and work offline, catching up on work reading and making edits and annotations to reports and documents that will show up later’ said Alister Esam, CEO of eShare. ‘Being online can be distracting at the best of times, so working offline means you avoid that distraction and aren’t tempted to respond to non-urgent emails as and when they arrive.’

4. Have some fun, for God’s Sake

Important though it is, productivity shouldn’t be top of your Christmas list. There’s no reason why festive cheer shouldn't be brought into the workplace in the form of mince pies and dodgy jumpers. Getting in the Christmas spirit is a great way to help everyone push through to the holidays.

Nothing encapsulates this attitude more than the Christmas party. ‘Christmas is stressful for many of us, and it’s easy to bring this tension into the workplace. Many of us look forward to the Christmas party where we can let our hair down,’ said Nick Pollitt, Managing Director of DBI Furniture Solutions. ‘This is an opportunity for employers to say thank you for their staff’s hard work and is also a fantastic chance for employees to socialise with each other, build connections and forge new friendships in the workplace.’

5. ...But don’t overdo it

This is the worst time of year to attempt a diet or alcohol ban, but that’s not to say go all out on the mince pies and mulled wine just yet. With party season in full swing, be careful not to assume that you’re the drinking warrior from years past and always supplement indulgence with the odd healthy snack.

‘The increase in sugary foods and alcoholic beverages will impact you the next day at work, mentally and physically,’ says productivity coach Marian Morgan. Always worth bearing in mind for those extra slow mornings…

Image Credit: Flickr/ Ruth Hartnup

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