12 tips to staying productive during the Christmas period

As we approach the final weeks of the year, remaining productive in work can become more difficult with so much going on around us. Here are 12 tips to help you stay productive over the Christmas period.

December is a hectic time of year in work. It can be hard to stay focused. Here are 12 tips to help you be productive this December so you can hit the ground running in January.

Set your priorities for December

In December there are lots of things to get done. If you don’t have time for everything, be really clear about the priorities. Agree this with your important stakeholders: your boss, your colleagues or your clients, to avoid any conflict or disappointment.

Protect your time

In December time in work is more limited than usual. Our days are often shorter due to traffic congestion, late nights, an early finish for Christmas events, lunches with clients, etc.

Be ruthless with your time. Spend it on your priority tasks and people. Notice when you get pulled into things that you didn’t plan to do.

Catch up with key clients

Connect with important people before the year end. Try to find productive ways to do this. Make a quick phone call or send a charity Christmas Card. A quick check-in can really strengthen a relationship for continued work together in 2020.

Push some events to January

In December there is pressure to do everything before Christmas. Start asking if some things can be moved to January. This frees up some time but also energises January, a month when it can be hard to get motivated.

Keep meetings short

Everyone’s time is limited in December so now is the time to use Productive Meetings skills. Keep them short and stay on track. Have a clear agenda. Make decisions and decide actions. Your colleagues will appreciate it too – everyone’s time is precious!

Say no sometimes

Saying no is one of the hardest skills in business. But it can be the right decision if the request is a low priority. Explain in business terms the reason you are saying no and suggest an alternative if you can.

Batch up tasks to save time

Our brains work more efficiently when doing the same task repeatedly. Be smart: if you have meetings in town, can you schedule them all for one morning? If you have three client phone calls to make, can you block an hour to make them all? Similarly try processing your email responses in bulk at specific times of the day.

Avoid commuting when you can

Traffic congestion increases during December as Christmas shopping reaches a peak. Can you avoid it by working at home some days? Even a few hours at home first thing before travelling into the office later can enhance your focus and productivity.

Make a do don’t list

To do lists are great to provide focus. But it can be frustrating if tasks are not getting done. What stops you? What distracts you? What do you get sucked into or waste time on? Make a do don’t list! A list of things you are determined not to spend your time on. Then when they crop up, it’s easier to notice and avoid them.

Get exercise, good food and sleep

This is the hard one! Our good habits can go out the window in December. Try to include exercise in your busy days: walk to a meeting or walk to the shopping centre. Pick reasonably healthy restaurants for get togethers. Avoid the corner of the office with the tin of Cadbury’s Roses (at least until the final week before Christmas).

Eliminate non-essential tasks

Push non-essential tasks to January or don’t do them at all. This includes social requests too. Do you need to go to everything, or do you need to meet everyone? Take control, embrace JOMO – the joy of missing out!

Make a plan for January before you finish up

On your last day in the office, all the details about your projects and clients will be really clear. Capture everything before you switch off over Christmas. Plan out the first few days back in January. You will be glad you did during those first few days back in 2020.

Being productive in 2020

A productive in December can lead to a restful Christmas period. Enjoy your break, you will have earned it.

Best wishes for a productive 2020. If you would like information on New Year goal setting and planning or general productivity training, coaching or seminars, please contact Moira Dunne at moiradunne@beproductive.ie

By Moira Dunne

Published: 12 December, 2019