Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Staying Productive and Motivated Through the Holiday Season

As the holidays approach, we all have various annual traditions we like to honor. We have our ways of celebrating Thanksgiving. We may have a typical time and unique ways to put up a tree. We have parties we like to go to, shopping to get done and plans to make for both. There's also one more tradition popular in offices around the country- counting down the days until we're off work for the holidays. It's an exciting time, but also easy to get distracted and maybe even overwhelmed. That makes it important to have a plan for getting the work done leading up to the end of the year.

End-of-year work is a bit of a double whammy- there's often a lot on everyone's plates as the year winds down, whether it's because of reports or holiday marketing or deadlines before the calendar changes. It's also a time when employees are using the rest of their vacation days, worrying about holiday plans, and waiting for both of those to get here. There are ways to cut through that and stay productive. Start now and list everything that needs completing and when. Make a schedule, (taking into account when co-workers are off if anything involves collaboration), and write it into a calendar- better if it's something nice and visible like a desk pad. As projects get completed, there's extra satisfaction in crossing the days off like an Advent calendar.

Juggling everybody's time off can slow down projects. Instead of being surprised by someone's out-of-office reply, keep track of who on your team is going to be out. Either add it to your calendar or, if there's a shared collaboration space, consider an organizer board that everyone can add to and view.


Are you getting so antsy for the holidays that you start to feel uncomfortable at your desk? Maybe your desk setup needs improving. Consider a variety of ergonomic solutions such as keyboard managers, wrist rests, footrests, and proper screen placement to make it easier to get through the day. Fellowes has a nice site for identifying potential problem areas. Also, check your desk to make sure only the only items on it are necessary, and that those items are in easy reach. No sense having a file on your desk if it's tomorrow's project. Stash it away and don't think about it until then!

Holidays, festive as they are, can also be a stressful time. Many workplaces have a bunch of holiday-themed activities. They're plenty fun, but only if they don't add to your stress. Don't be afraid to be selective about what you participate in. The company-wide Secret Santa game may be meant to bring everyone closer together, but if it leaves you wondering what gift to get and when you'll find time to get it, don't feel like it's an obligation. Stick to the activities you'll actually enjoy. And on that same note, make a determined effort to enjoy the time off you get. Holiday preparations can be involved and the family gatherings can be exhausting, but make time to refresh. It's important to do what you love and spend time with the people you care about. It makes the countdown that much more pleasant.

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