It’s the most wonderful time of the year ... to get stuff done.
You’re already busy at work. And now the holidays are coming! How to get it all done? Here are a few ideas.
End your year early. The closer it gets to Dec. 31, the busier we all are. So step up the focus on your most critical projects now. Aim to get them wrapped up by midmonth. As much as possible, resist scheduling important tasks for the last week of the year.
Ritualize your work. Here’s how this works: Associate different tasks with different “rituals.” It can be as simple as always returning phone calls before lunch, for example, or only answering emails between 3 and 4 p.m. The more rigid and structured you are, the better this approach works.
Identify your “golden hour.” Some people work best first thing in the morning. Others come alive after lunch. Determine what time of day is optimum for you, and schedule your hardest tasks for then.
Make lists for everything. Don’t be embarrassed to adopt this old-school technique. Have work lists, gift lists, food lists, goals lists, etc. The buzz you get from crossing off items as you complete them boosts your energy level and helps you feel more in control.
Get away from it all. Get more done in less time just by moving from your office to a coffee shop, or from your desk to a conference room. A few hours in a new environment can jostle your brain into high gear. Also, being away from your usual work site makes it harder for co-workers to find and interrupt you.
Bundle activities. When setting up meetings, for example, don’t schedule one for Monday, one for Wednesday and one for Thursday. Do them all on the same day, when you’re already in meeting mode and away from your regular routine/workstation.
Don’t forget to stay healthy. During the holidays it’s harder than usual to eat right and to get the exercise and sleep you need. So make these issues a priority (perhaps another list?). The effort put into self-care comes back tenfold.
Finally, consider that it may be impossible to do everything you want or even need to do. Plan to forgive yourself if something slides. Remember that saying no once in a while is OK.