Whenever you hear the lyrics “It’s Christmas time- there’s no need to be afraid,” it probably makes you feel pretty excited. Unless of course you’re still in the office, swimming under 27 urgent unread reports. Band Aid might have the tunes to put us in the holiday mood, but sadly there’s no song that can help us get our work done faster. In the lead up to Christmas, it’s easy to start feeling stressed about tying up all those loose ends in time to party. And with all the festive distractions and long boozy lunches that come with the season, it can be hard to stay focused in mid-December. We bring you some top tips on how to stay productive- right up until Christmas Eve.
When it comes to getting things done, spreadsheets are your friend. Divide your time in the office into chunks and estimate what you think you can do in each time period. Breaking up your work into manageable tasks will help you relax- and stay more focused on the task at hand without getting overwhelmed. If you’re keen to keep your employees motivated, you could try handing out festive-themed December planners to help everyone stay organised.
However meticulously you plan, chances are you still won’t manage to get everything ticked off your list. Write down all the things you need to do and put crosses next to the most urgent items. Realistically, a lot of offices start to wind down at the end of the year, and there’ll always be some projects that get pushed back. Focus on what needs to be done urgently, rather than getting bogged down with the ‘extras’.
Look after your health
It’s the season to be festive- but it’s also the season for nasty bugs. The last thing you want is to be laid low with a snotty cold and fever when you could be spending time in the office or at the pub. Reduce your chances of a sick day by washing your hands regularly, getting plenty of sleep and eating well in the lead up to Christmas. (If you’ve already had your five-a-day, mince pies definitely count as health food.)
Don’t over promise or over extend
Unless you want to spend Christmas Day completely wiped out on the sofa, try not to overextend yourself this month. Work out what’s possible and set yourself realistic deadlines. Your clients are probably facing the same battles themselves, so it’s worth having a chat with them before you promise to deliver the earth two days before the holidays kick off. Be upfront, manage expectations and don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Use engagement tools at meetings
You might be dreaming of snow days, sleighs and kissing Sandra from PR under the office party mistletoe, but meetings aren’t the time to get distracted. Stay on top of important updates by using social engagement tools throughout events. Helping you and other employees to retain information and learn more, interactive tools will definitely up your productivity rates.
At the end of the year when our minds are preoccupied with thoughts of parties and mulled wine, innovation can take a back seat. Take some time out with your team to reignite passion by brainstorming ideas for next year. You don’t have to start any new projects until January, but getting creative will give everyone in the team a much-needed energy burst, which they can use to finish off all those less exciting tasks.
Make time for fun and treat yourself
There might be loads to do, but it’s still the season for celebration. Make the working day more fun by treating yourself to a chocolate or fun festive quiz every time you get something checked off your list. While it’s wise to steer clear of activities that could distract other people during the working day, you should make time for fun Christmas team building activities once the laptops have been put to bed.