Yes, you can make your pie and eat it too.
The holidays are just around the corner. With each of them comes family and friend get-togethers, seemingly never ending shopping, and not to mention, lots of meals. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean that your work is going to stop. If anything, this time of year means more work for many companies. So how do you fit in all these once-a-year activities you want to enjoy while continuing to excel at work? Try out the following productivity tips, so you can make your pie and eat it too during the holidays.
7 productivity tips that will help you get things done this holiday season:
1. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
At the start of each day, the amount of emails and tasks that you need to sort through may feel overwhelming. Instead of racking your brain over those big tasks or emails right away, get rid of all those small ones first. Reply to emails that are easy to answer and do the things you are familiar with and know won’t take much time. Once you have those out of the way, then focus on the bigger tasks.
Pro-tip: Make bigger tasks into smaller ones by breaking them into parts and giving yourself a deadline for each small task.
2. Lists, lists and more lists.
It may seem obvious, but moving all of your tasks from your brain onto paper or your computer will improve your focus. Don’t worry about remembering what you have to get done, just let your notes remember it for you. This way, you can check off or remove things from your list and clearly see what you’ve accomplished.
See our "Power of the Pen" infographic to learn the benefits of taking notes by hand rather than typing notes on a computer →
3. Be reasonable about the time you spend on each task.
While you may want to fit in as much as possible into one work day, this will lead to stress and poorer performance on each task. Give yourself some cushion for the amount of time it takes to complete each task, just in case it takes longer than expected. You’ll also want to be prepared for all the unexpected tasks surface throughout the day.
4. Use your energy in the right places.
Just like some tasks require more time than others, some also require more energy. As David Allen recommends in Getting Things Done, have some backup, low energy task ready to be worked on. When you’re not feeling particularly energized or focused, get some of those low energy tasks out of the way and save your energy for the ones that really need it.
5. Don’t be afraid to delegate.
People often feel that passing on their responsibilities to co-workers is a lazy way to handle responsibilities. However, it can be a way to get things done more effectively. As Stephen R. Covey recommends in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, accomplishments are only achieved through delegation, whether it’s delegating your time or delegating your tasks to other people. Delegating to other people can be particularly effective since other people may be better at handling certain tasks. Instead of trying to do something you’re not entirely equipped to do, utilize people who may be more capable than you.
6. Take initiative the right way.
Covey also recommends not waiting for things to happen, but making them happen. People are often afraid to follow up with people for projects or tasks they’ve been waiting on, yet Covey reminds us that it’s okay to get things moving, as long as it’s done in an effective manner. In his words: “Taking initiative does not mean being pushy, obnoxious, or aggressive. It does mean recognizing our responsibility to make things happen.” (pg. 82)
7. Give yourself rewards and plenty of small breaks.
While you want to get as much possible done every day, you can only focus and work productively for so long. Give yourself a couple of 10-15 minute breaks a day. Try scheduling these at the same time every day so you get yourself into a routine and also give yourself something to look forward to. Use this time to do things that relax you or make you happy, like going for a walk or catching up on a few more pages of that book you've been meaning to finish.
For more productivity tips to get you and your entire staff through the holidays:
Business books are packed with tips on how to increase your productivity, maximize your energy, and optimize your time. Browse our Success Advice bookshelf to find more business titles that will help you work smarter, not harder this holiday season. We recommend the following:
• Getting Things Done by David Allen
• The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
• Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
• Decisive by Chip Heath & Dan Heath
• Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
• Built to Last by Jim Collins & Jerry I. Porras
• Drive by Daniel H. Pink
• Are You Fully Charged? by Tom Rath
• Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith
• The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
This post was written by Sydney Moorhead, a customer service associate at BookPal. She is currently reading Eat Move Sleep by Tom Rath and Stir by Jessica Fechtor. Read the first installment of her Read & Eat series: 8 Book and Food Pairings That Will Inspire You.