Saturday, December 6, 2014
6 Ways to Stay on Track Amidst the Holiday Hustle
As of today, we are just 10 days from the start of Hanukkah, 19 days from Christmas and 26 days from New Year’s Day, which can mean exceedingly long to-do lists over and above the normal, day-to-day workload: decorating, cooking and baking, shopping, wrapping, sending cards, television specials, parties, traveling, out-of-town visitors and much, much more… Whew! It can be extremely overwhelming, but there are steps you can take to help:
1. Be proactive and strategic about handling all your job requires. While team huddles can be good for some, all individuals can benefit from a weekly strategy session done alone for appropriately scheduling time for necessary tasks, meetings, professional growth and current priorities. By assigning a specific “when” for every “what”, more gets done and you have more wins. Then, keep that weekly game plan on track with a daily wrap-in in the last 15 minutes of each workday, where you complete a “check-up from the neck up” for tasks and appointments, get updates from each of your team members, tidy up your workspace, acknowledge the day's successes and show gratitude.
2. Take a look at your ongoing tasks and activities; see what can be deferred until after the holidays. During this time of year, we add so many activities to our already full calendars, but there are only so many hours in any day… Each time we say "yes" to something, we are saying "no" to something else; when each opportunity arises, make a conscious effort to consider, "If I say yes to this, to what am I saying no?" What can be set aside to make room for your priorities this season?
3. Make time for self-healing and keep self care a priority. Whether it is a massage, a coffee break with friends, reading the latest and greatest novel, a quick nap, time to reflect in nature, exercise or just a bit of silence in front of the fireplace, it is vital to fuel yourself in order to have any energy for giving to others.
4. Take vacation time off to handle holiday obligations. While you can’t add hours to the day, you can manage your actions for optimizing the time you have by taking some time off to finish shopping, cooking or decorating. This approach empowers you to be fully focused when you are at work, knowing you have adequate time set aside for those holiday commitments. Likewise, if you are the team lead, be aware of everyone’s desires for vacation time, and be careful to balance employee vacation requests with business needs; consider having a policy for no vacations on especially busy days or limiting the number of days off during the holidays, focusing on giving folks the time off they need to be fully engaged while at work at the same time as getting all work done.
5. Know when to ask for help. While successful collaboration, communication and scheduling can enhance your team’s ability to diffuse the company’s workload, utilizing all available bandwidth, don’t forget that there are plenty of options for outsourcing and delegating outside your organization. There are many resources, including Elance, Fiverr, Sweeps, Task Rabbit and Thumbtack, that are excellent solutions for helping with holiday overload. Utilize all available resources to optimize results.
6. Make lists for all that must be done, bought, wrapped, decorated, cleaned, etc. When faced with holiday-season projects, break each into bite-sized, action steps that can be more easily tackled; checking individual steps off will keep you motivated to continue. Then, whether paper or electronic, be sure to keep your list with you throughout the season, referencing it often.
What tactics do you utilize for maintaining productivity during the holidays? How do you incorporate seasonal commitments amidst your day-to-day routines? Have you noticed any hiccups thus far this year?