We are about to enter the holiday season once again and with that comes a new round of being busier than ever. There just is never enough time to bake holiday cookies, attend the parties and buy all those last minute gifts for your friends and family plus do all of the work you normally have to do. Many of my team members that work from home always ask me about tips on how to stay focused at work during the holidays so that is what this week’s blog is going to be about! Here are 10 tips for staying focused on your work during the holiday season:
How to Stay Focused in 10 Easy Steps
1. REMAIN CALM. I know your to do list may seem overwhelming as your time seems to be shrinking. But don’t let your personal stress affect your work performance or diminish your productivity. Remember to take some time off from work to spend holiday time with family or even get a little shopping out of the way. That way you can have a chance to refresh yourself during the busy holiday season.
2. Make a to-do list. Even though it may seem overwhelming, it will give you a chance to clear your mind and focus on the most important things that need to be. I like to create one giant list then prioritize by importance. I also love using a website called Toodledo. Highlight the tasks you must have completed by the time your family arrives in town to celebrate the holidays. Or, if you have tasks that MUST be done during those days, prioritize what needs to be done, set a time and goal. Do the most important things first!
3. Make a daily plan. If you have a plan for each day of the holiday season, it will help you be more organized. Create a plan so that you can assign work tasks to each day, as well as holiday shopping and travel time. If you have children, it may be a good idea to also think of activities to keep the kids busy and occupied. You won’t be able to get everything done, so make sure you are focused on the top 5 things that will really make a difference. Don’t get bogged down in the busy work. Focus on the “A” level activities.
How to Stay Focused = To Do List
4. Get a jump on your to do list. Start working on all those year-end projects ahead of time. Even start your holiday shopping earlier than you did in the past. That way you can attend all of the holiday parties and family obligations later in the month, knowing that you have the time and that you are better organized. Make sure you delegate too. My husband always says I have learned the art of delegation. Delegate with a smile and a please and thank you but make sure you are including the people who can help you with tasks.
5. Look out for distractions! They are everywhere during the busy holiday season. When you are setting aside time to work – do that! Let your family know that for the next 3 hours you are off limits. Don’t get distracted by online shopping. That can wait until later. Remember, if you are trying to do too many things at once you will get overwhelmed. Sometimes going to a coffee shop or library can be helpful because there aren’t as many things to pull you away from productivity. It can be a nice break in the day too.
6. Create boundaries. If you set aside time to work, make sure that everyone in your family knows that it is your time and that you should not be disturbed unless it is an absolute emergency. Put your phone on silent so that you are not tempted to answer the phone. On the other hand, if you set aside time to spend with your children, parents or other loved ones – don’t get distracted by work! Family time is especially sacred during the holiday season and should be one of your major commitments. Make sure to put the phone down during these times. We are setting examples for our kids and loved ones.
7. Take care of yourself! Remember to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. Try to exercise more this holiday season – don’t let your to do list take away from your normal routine. Also sleep more, not less so you have the energy to deal with everything you have to do during the day. Finally, watch what you eat and drink. Everyone eats more sugary foods and alcoholic beverages during the holiday season, but remember those will impact your next day at work, both mentally and physically. This one is hard, I know! Often we get sick in January because of how much we “overdid” in December. If we take better care of ourselves in December, we can usually avoid the January blahs.
8. Don’t over commit yourself. It is all right if you cannot make every holiday party or function. Your friends will forgive you! Just be sure to prioritize and balance your holiday activities with your work obligations. In the long run it is better to keep focused and maintain a good work-life balance.
My Best Tips on How to Stay Focused
9. Remind yourself each morning to stay focused at work. Forget about all you have to do and focus on each day’s obligations. Make sure that when you are working, you are focused on the tasks that have to be done, and not thinking about what you have to do in the near future. I like to wake up with a cup of tea and look over my to do list. This really gets me in the right mindset for productivity. When you are at the actual holiday function then you can focus on the holidays and having fun!
10. Remember what the holiday season is about – celebration and spending time with friends and family! It is one of the happiest times of the year and does not have to be chaotic, even though there are lots of pulls for it to be that – it is what we make of it! Enjoy the simple things. Your decorated house or your kids happy faces when they find the perfect gift, baking, the first snow, the way the light changes at night…. The list goes on and on. I love the holidays and have learned over the years, that less is more. We don’t have to make the 30 kinds of cookies we did when we were kids. Think about your holiday traditions and continue to do the ones you only really love!
I truly hope these tips on how to stay focused will make this season less stressful. You got this. Follow these tips and I am confident you will focus on your work during the busy holiday season! The holiday gatherings are a perfect place to share your products and business with lots of people that you don’t see all the time too. Just be sure to ask questions, provoke curiosity so that they are actually asking you what you are up to! Most of all, enjoy this precious time with your family and friends.