Stay Focused at Work During the Holidays
The holidays are upon us! This is such wonderful time of year full of family, friends, fun and for most of us… work. Gone are the days of two weeks long Holiday breaks for those of us in the adult world (and let’s face it, weekends aren’t even always a thing for those of us in the entrepreneur world). Don’t get us wrong, we LOVE what we do but, that doesn’t mean that we don’t want to have that little bit of time away from the office to spend with those we love, especially around the holidays. So, how do we find the time to make that extra time? Take a look at the Dream Team’s top motivation tips that help us minimize stress and move smoothly through the Holiday season.
1. Prioritize EVERYTHING
Identifying your top priorities is crucial to helping you stay positive and stress-free during the holidays. Take the time to sit down and prioritize everything. Rank your holiday activities, rank your personal objectives, rank your professional goals and rank your housework. Prioritize. Everything. Start with your bare minimum; What do you MUST happen in each category to make you satisfied this holiday season? Once you’ve identified your essential tasks, you can move on to adding things you would like to make happen and so on until you’ve got your complete lists of priorities for December. Just doing this task should take a huge amount of weight off of your shoulders. You just laid out your goals for the whole month! Go snag a Christmas cookie from the cooling rack.
2. Make a schedule and stick to it like your life depends on it
Pull out that planner you have shoved into the back of your desk drawer, dust off the cover, and make use of it for the next few weeks. Set yourself a realistic goal of work hours per week, keeping in mind that you will likely need more time off than usual each week. Utilize your lists of priorities to schedule out your weeks. Go through your calendar day by day and configure all of the pieces of the puzzle. Create a workable schedule for yourself that satisfies personal and professional needs. This may result in some interesting work hours, evenings or weekends, but the most important thing is that you are able to accommodate your personal, professional and practical goals during the holidays. You should feel instantly less stressed after completing this task. You now know that it is indeed possible to accomplish all of your top goals for December! Go you.
3. Be disciplined – Practice setting hard stops for yourself and saying NO
You’ve done all the prep work to have a rockin’ final month of 2016, now it’s time to show the world what you’ve got and make it happen. Refer back to your schedule and your priority lists often. Did Deb ask you to attend her Holiday party? Check your calendar. Does Deb’s party trump any of your other holiday priorities? No? Sorry Deb, better luck next year. You’ve got a solid flow going on a work project that with a deadline at the end of the week but your daughter’s school Christmas Pageant is tonight? You’ll find your flow again in the morning, your calendar says you are leaving the office at 5pm sharp!
Being disciplined can be especially challenging for those of us that work out of the home office, like most of the Dream Team. If you are having trouble staying productive because of noisy kids, rambunctious puppies or general homey holiday laziness try getting out of the house for a few hours a day. Head to a local coffee shop or library and tackle your most difficult projects. Save the simpler tasks for your home office. This will also aid in disconnecting your stressful work life from your relaxed home life. The last thing you need during the holidays is to feel stressed out at home by more than just that pile of laundry in front of your washer or the pine needles piling up under the tree.
BONUS TIP: If you work from home shut the office door at your workday, put away the laptop, sign out of your business’s social media accounts, tidy up any remnants of the workday that was. This way you won’t feel that pang of stress when you glance over at your laptop and remember the 34 emails that still need to be responded to while you are supposed to be relaxing and decorating the tree with the family.
4. Take time to relax and de-stress
The Holidays and stress go hand in hand for many people. Parties, presents, people and pressure are all around. The odds of avoiding stress altogether are slim but you can take steps to minimize your stress levels at home and at work. Look for opportunities in each day to do something that relaxes you and that you enjoy. Take a little walk outside during a work break, make a nice hot cup of cocoa in your favorite mug or maybe you’ll even be lucky enough to squeeze in a massage! Okay, maybe not, but it was a nice idea. Take some things off of your plate and don’t be afraid to ask for help. See if Grandma wouldn’t mind taking the kids for a few days a week since it’s holiday break, hire a cleaning lady to come once a week for the month of December and/or order dinners from a meal prep service like Home Chef (Katherine’s godsend). Imagine how much time you would save if you didn’t have to clean your house or go grocery shopping! Think of it as an early Christmas gift to yourself and feel the stress melt away.
5. Remember why you’re here
And if all of those other tips still aren’t doing the trick, take a minute to remind yourself why you are working in the first place. Ask yourself: Why am I doing this? Why is this important to me? What will happen if I do not do this? Am I okay with that result? After answering each of these you should feel inspired to focus and get things done. After all, what you are doing is important and it needs to be done. This is the last month of the year, go out with a bang and MAKE IT HAPPEN! Set an example for those around you, be that your employees, your colleagues or your kids. And remember that you are not the only person dealing with these pressures. Your neighbor is probably just as stressed and possibly less equipped to handle it. Get a leg up on the competition by staying motivated and making December the best month yet!
The holidays are a time to relax, be merry and honor the traditions we hold dear and this should be reflected in your work. Focus on simplifying your message, producing quality work over quantity and taking the time to really connect with your people this holiday season. Prioritize your values and take the time to find a balance between work and fun that really works for you and your business.
After the holidays are over, take stock of what you’ve accomplished. Did you do everything that you set out to do? Was it very stressful? How did you manage your stress? Did your professional life suffer? Did your personal life suffer? What could you do differently next year to make things better? Use your results as a guide to design next year’s strategy for staying motivated and on top of your game throughout the holidays.