How to Stay Productive at Work During the Holidays

All your emails get out-of-office replies. You feel like you’re the only one in the office. Are you tempted to sign off and start the holidays early?

Yet the quietness of holidays can also present an opportunity to be productive, finish projects and get a jump on work before everyone returns. Here are tips to staying productive through the end of the calendar year to make a strong start for after the holidays. 

Start With The Hard Tasks All your meetings are canceled and projects aren’t due until later. With all that extra time, you may give yourself permission to “productively” procrastinate by seeing what’s in your inbox. Next thing you know, you have 50 tabs open, it’s lunchtime and you don’t have anything tangible to show for your morning. Instead, set a schedule and start with something you need to get done. Catching up with email can wait until later. 

Get Organized You know the huge stack of papers and emails you’ve been avoiding for weeks? Now is the time to dive in, delete, file and recycle. Nothing makes you feel more ready to take on big projects like a clean and organized workspace. 

Set a Timer for Regular Breaks Without a full slate of meetings, you may find yourself fixated on the same task. While this may allow you to accomplish a lot on one project, it’s also healthy to take a break and allow time to gain perspective. Set a timer to work on one project for 25-30 minutes and remind yourself to take a break. 

Reflect on The Year Performance reviews aren’t the only time you should reflect on your work. As the end of the year approaches, take time to write down what you thought went well, what you wish you could  improve, and what you want to do once the busy season starts up again. Embrace the downtime to look inward, not just outward. 

Make Connections Now take a break— with others. Seek out the small group who is still in the office to make more meaningful connections than when the office is busier. Go out to lunch together, spend more time at the water cooler or start a happy hour. You’ve earned it. 

Want to give yourself the gift that keeps giving? Be productive this holiday season. Your future self will thank you for the present.