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The holidays are always a chaotic time and it’s difficult to stay productive. This doesn’t mean you should give up.
It’s easier than you might think to be productive even as friends and family come to visit or you travel to meet them. While you might not have hours and hours of free time, even a few minutes makes a major difference.
All you really need is the right tools and a quiet space to get everything you need done.
1. Get Up Earlier Or Go To Bed Later
This is one of the easiest ways to stay productive during the holiday season. If you have people visiting, you’re going to find it’s almost impossible to get anything done during your normal schedule. Just for the holidays, rearrange your schedule so you get up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than everyone else. Or, if you’re a night owl, stay up a little later.
You’d be surprised at just how much you can get done during this short period. For the best results, tackle your hardest tasks during this period so you’re not getting distracted.
2. Create A Solid Plan
Between your normal obligations, shopping, cooking, traveling and more, things get chaotic quickly. Suddenly, it’s a toss up as to what you should do each day or even each hour. Skip the stress and indecisiveness. Create a solid plan and stick to it.
Think of it as scheduling meetings and tasks at work. You might consider using a spreadsheet or document to plot out your plan. These are also ideal for to-do lists.
You could also use free calendar apps like Google Calendar or a time management/calendar app like ZenDay.
3. Give Yourself A Break
There are only so many hours in a day. Constantly stressing over how you’re going to get everything done isn’t going to make you more productive. While you probably can’t take the entire holiday season off, consider taking a few days off during your busiest times.
Did you know that half of Americans don’t take all of their vacation days? Yet, those who do take time off come back feeling happier and more productive. Even taking a few days away serves as a great stress reliever (ideal for the holidays) and boosts your performance when you do go back to work.
While dealing with some family might be stressful, combining it with trying to work just makes everything worse. To be more productive, allow yourself some time off to relieve stress, so you’re more productive on the days you are working.
4. Start With The Worst
When you’re dreading an upcoming tasks, you’ll find any excuse not to do it, including not working at all. If you want to stay productive during the holiday season, get the worst tasks out of the way first. You’ll stop dreading them and feel less stressed. This frees you up to do all the other tasks without such an urge to procrastinate.
5. Create A Daily To-Do List
Before you go to bed each night, create a to-do list of everything you need to accomplish the next day. If possible, add times to each item. For best results, allow yourself twice as long as you think it would take. This gives you a cushion in the event of distractions or random holiday obligations.
However, don’t use your cushion as a reason to procrastinate. If you stick to your to-do list, you might just find you have free time left over to make merry. All this extra time helps motivate you to do the same thing tomorrow and so on. Sticking to your list the first day is all it takes to create a more productive holiday routine.