“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey
The holidays are upon us, and while they bring so much joy, they can also present a unique set of challenges. With festivities to attend, holiday shopping to be done, and even grief that arises for some, it can be difficult to stay on track with your work timelines without sacrificing work-life balance — but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Whether you’re juggling the demands of your to-do lists or feeling spread thin by holiday overwhelm, below are a few simple tips you can implement to make this time of the year both productive and enjoyable.
5 Ways to Cultivate More Harmony Between Your Work Obligations and The Holidays
1. Take advantage of your peak performance hours
We all have peak performance times. These are certain times of the day when we generally feel most productive and energized, and this can be different for everyone.
Do you feel ready to tackle the day bright and early in the morning? Or later in the day after you’ve had some caffeine and more time to settle into your rhythm? These are useful questions to help assess your time management techniques.
Determine when these golden times are for you and dedicate those hours to the work that requires the most effort and brain power. These are the times you should limit your distractions so you can maximize these highly productive hours.
For less critical tasks, also known as low-value tasks, it is best to use the hours when there tend to be more disruptions. Low-value tasks are those that mean little to nothing to customers or colleagues and could be anything like scheduling meetings and calls or sorting through emails.
While these are still important, they aren’t necessarily helping you reach your long-term goals and don’t need to be prioritized during your peak performance hours.
2. Try monotasking instead of multitasking
Monotasking is another way of saying single-tasking, the practice of focusing on one task at a time. Unlike multitasking which requires you to divide your focus among multiple tasks at once, monotasking allows you to dedicate your time and energy to complete a specific task before proceeding to another.
Practicing monotasking increases the thoroughness and quality of the work you produce, rather than completing tasks that may reflect your distractedness.
Although it may seem like you’re getting more done by multitasking, research shows that shifting between tasks can cost as much as 40% of someone’s productive time. This means multitasking is actually taking up more of your time, and likely increases the number of errors you’ll have in your work.
3. Set realistic goals
You want to set yourself up for success by breaking down your goals into achievable ones that align with your priorities as well as your business’s goals. Setting clear goals that you know you can execute will keep you feeling motivated and accomplished.
A practical way to do this is to create smaller goals that have a big impact and will keep you in momentum for larger goals. Don’t forget to celebrate success – no matter how big or small!
4. Connect with your resources
Chances are, you’re not the only one feeling overwhelmed during the holiday season. Check in with your team to see how they’re navigating this time. You could start by asking, “How are you doing?” or “Is there anything you need from me?”
Opening up this conversation and having a team support system is helpful in fostering healthy work relationships. There may be ways you can help one another execute tasks or a project more efficiently.
5. Embrace downtime
We’ve all heard of work-life balance and it exists for a reason. When we fill our own cups, we can give without feeling empty. Making rest a priority has a direct correlation with our productivity in the long run.
As stated by Scientific American, “Downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to achieve our highest levels of performance.”
Check-in with yourself and honor when you need to take a break. Your work and well-being will benefit.