5 Tips to Stay Focused & Productive this Holiday Season

download (2)With Thanksgiving around the corner, followed closely by Christmas and New Year’s among various other holidays, it is a busy time of year!

For most companies it’s also the end of the last quarter of the year. You may find yourself distracted with days off from work, along with meetings to discuss and review your quarterly/annual goals, not to mention finding time to shop for gifts and make plans for holiday parties.

Although it’s a busy time of year, it’s still possible to channel your energy at the office to make your final weeks of the year even more productive than before. Instead of procrastinating in an office that’s more quiet than usual, take advantage of the downtime to focus on your work. Trust me, you will feel much better walking out at night and being able to enjoy your personal holiday activities knowing you’ve given your all each day.

5 Holiday Productivity Tips to Stay Focused at Work

1) Don’t Browse Online

The Internet is a great way to distract yourself for hours at a time. One article links you to the next and before you know it you’re analyzing why Miley Cyrus took a turn for the worst.

Here’s a tip: don’t even start. Ask yourself — what are you really going to get out of this internet browsing? I see how it’s appealing to take a mental break, but because of the nature of the web it can easily end up being a deep dark hole of procrastination. Instead, go for an energizing walk, or make yourself a cup of coffee or tea.

2) Prioritize

Figure out what you need to get accomplished and list out a plan of attack. It’s tempting to start our day with the easiest tasks to get the ball rolling — however, I find attacking the more difficult, time-consuming tasks first thing in the day/week when you’re fresh is best. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself scrambling on Friday to get your most difficult tasks done.

Once those challenging action items have been taken care of, the rest of the week is open to focus on your other activities without the dread of the worst ones hanging over you in the back of your mind (now that’s a recipe for procrastination).

3) Play with Blocks

Okay, not literally toys, but blocks of time. Before you begin on the tasks you have prioritized, figure out how long they should take. This way you’re not giving yourself three hours for something that really should only take one. Once you’ve figured out the length of the project, block the time off on your calendar and turn off your email — no excuses! You will also be more apt to finish the project or task in the allotted time if you set your own self-imposed deadlines.

4) Think in the Present

Don’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow — just focus on today. Take one day at a time and you are much less likely to feel overwhelmed. Feeling stressed or anxious about work will not help your productivity. Stay positive and know that you can do a great job. Think about someone in your office who you admire and look up to. Are they distracting themselves with online Christmas shopping or are they grabbing the bull by the horns and cranking out some work?

5) Remember: You Can Always Turn Your Day Around

Maybe the day started a bit slower than you anticipated, or the afternoon is dragging after lunch. Don’t just accept the day as slow — turn your productivity around. Challenge yourself to make Q4 your most productive yet, even with all of the holiday madness. There are many things you cannot control in life, but you can control the amount of output you create at work!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

You might also like ...
Predictable Pitfalls of Founders and How to Avoid Them
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in People + Strategy magazine here. We have romanticized founders having their “eureka” moments, writing their...
by Alisa Cohn
Startup Strategy
The Simple Secret to Getting Ahead in Tech
A couple of weeks ago, I read a fantastic article in the Wall Street Journal about Leyla Seka’s rise through...
by George Roberts
Startup Strategy
Using Empathy to Improve the Customer Journey
Empathy is key to improving the customer journey, but to develop it we need to get as close as we...
by OpenView