Do you ever get the feeling that your “To Do” list is growing while the time you have to complete it is simultaneously shrinking? There’s a reason for that, and it’s called The Holiday Season.
It is super easy – and understandable – to feel a bit overwhelmed around the holidays. In the same time you have throughout the rest of the year, you have a million extra things to do such as shopping for and wrapping gifts, hosting and attending (countless) parties, cooking and baking, caring for kids who are usually in school, travelling and, oh yeah, don’t forget about going to work. Keeping your focus, especially at work, can be pretty challenging this time of year – but with a few adjustments, you can channel your energy and ensure your focus is razor-sharp right up until the moment Santa Claus rolls into town.
Just like peanut butter and jam, spreading yourself too thin is a recipe for disaster (and a sad, sad sandwich). Learn to say no and don’t overbook yourself throughout the holidays. Be clear about the events you must attend and things you must do, and leave the rest for after you get back from the holiday break. Bonus tip: writing your priorities down helps to reduce the clutter in your mind, improve your concentration and focus on tasks at hand.
Losing steam at work is especially simple when managers and the C-level are out of the office, as they often can be over the holidays. Even so, it’s important to treat work time during the holidays the same as you would during any other day of the year. Just because it’s December doesn’t mean you don’t still have work to do – despite extra treats in the office kitchen, the impromptu carol singalong happening three offices down from yours, or your boss being away for a week.
Staying active throughout the year is a good idea but is very important over the holidays. Stress is a given since you have a lot to do; exercising will keep your stress levels low and your energy high. It also helps you to sleep better, thereby improving your ability to focus. So, while it may be very tempting to skip your workout – whether it’s a sweat sesh at the gym or taking your pup for an evening walk – keep movement at the top of your list (and maybe even put a star beside it).
Although you may be swamped at work, avoid the temptation to bring work home with you or stay at your desk after hours. Off-work tasks are important too; half the reason why people get so worked up over the holidays is that they have so much to do and haven’t left themselves enough time to do it. Prioritize, minimize distractions and, at the end of the day, you’ll feel better about what you’ve accomplished at work so you can focus on the “To Do” list at home.
The one thing that could affect your focus the most throughout December is to remember what the holiday season is all about. Don’t choose to navigate life in a chaotic manner just because you’re so busy. Doing so won’t do anyone any good, regardless of whether it’s your family, your coworkers, your friends or yourself. Surround yourself with the people you love, celebrate that time together and focus on the good things you have. (Like eggnog.)
Written by Jess Campbell