The holidays are upon us. Typically, this is the time to eat, drink, and enjoy some quality family time, but – let’s face it – it is also the time when the majority of people simply procrastinate. Holiday preparations have been recognized as a major stressor for many people, and this year, things are even more hectic.
Still, even if we’ve been working remotely for a while and would like to change the environment for once (and when better to do it than during the holidays), the thing is that this year we simply must make do with what we have.
This doesn’t mean that the essence of the holidays has changed—quite the contrary. We still run the same risk of wasting time, excusing it on the pretext of holidays.
Thankfully, it is possible to maintain a healthy balance – to be productive and still keep in touch with work-related matters, but also be present. For starters, we have the AM time at our disposal, which we can use for either our daily tasks or for enjoyment. With this additional time at our hands, we only need to plan better.
Let’s see how to remain productive and not miss a single holiday-related event.
Don’t Bypass Your Daily Routine.
It’s true that things are more relaxed during the holidays (or at least they should be), but don’t skip your routine, nevertheless. This will help you deal with unpredictability, which is so typical of holidays.
In addition, by maintaining your routine, you’ll be able to plan your time better, keep yourself stress-free, and still have enough time for all leisure activities.
Remember to be realistic and plan ahead. In this way, you’ll be able to use every second of your day to the fullest. Whether this be work tasks or your new e-learning course, everything should have a time slot.
It is also recommended to go over your next-day routine in the evening.
Keep Focused Properly
If you keep in line with your daily routine, you’ll be able to focus on the task at hand. This is essential if indeed not paramount. By focusing on one thing at a time, you’ll achieve more creativity and be left with more free time.
Take a Whole Day Off
If you feel stressed or find there are too many tasks, take a day off. This is totally acceptable during the holidays, as long as you use the time to unwind rather than to procrastinate.
Holidays are, after all, all about a much-needed break every one of us deserves, especially after a hectic year like this one.
Keep Your Calendar Short
During the holidays, people’s calendars usually include much more than during regular time, as they normally list work-related tasks, travel, and social events. This year, traveling is somewhat in short supply, but holidays are still about family and friends.
If you overbook yourself, you won’t be able to properly enjoy the holidays. Make your schedule realistic and, most importantly, learn to say no. E.g., if you already have plans for the evening, it is all right to politely decline invitations to additional events.
Make Time Slots for All Activities
This is the season of holiday shopping. This year, online shopping is somewhat more in demand, which is both a good and a bad thing.
It is good because it offers more choices, but it is bad because you can do it at any time, which usually translates into hours of browsing and comparing offers.
To avoid wasting time, make a time slot for online shopping (just like for everything else) and set a time limit. Make certain to allow yourself enough time, but be realistic.
To be able to track your progress, you actually need some parameters. The best way to go about it is to set expectations. Again, remember to be realistic. Take your schedule into account, and if you need to correspond with your colleagues, inform them when you’ll be available, and stick to email versus calls or video chats.
This is coupled with your email routine. Namely, it is highly recommended to turn off email notifications and allocate two-time slots for checking new messages (optimally once in the morning and again in the evening). If you normally respond to incoming emails immediately, inform your correspondents when you’ll be available during the holidays.
This is easier said than done, especially since we are all overworked and seem to have insufficient time for our favorite leisure activities.
Still, it is a better option to schedule the activities rather than go randomly about them, as to keep your competitive edge in all things. In the case of the latter, people too often find that binge-watching is rather tempting, but sadly they realize it when it’s too late.
Think about it this way: if you procrastinate, your schedule will fall apart. You’ll need to set additional time for your tasks, and your stress levels will rise because you’ll need to disrupt your other plans – including leisure activities.
The holidays are the holidays no matter how you look at it. Certainly, holidays serve for people to relax, spend some quality time with their loved ones, and forget about their hectic routine.
But even more importantly, the fact that we seem to be overworked and overstressed all the time leads to us confusing procrastination with some quiet time spent enjoying our favorite activities. With the pandemic, isn’t it high time to rethink our priorities? Perhaps the best advice would be to use some quiet holiday time to plan your future so that you’ll never be stressed every day, all day long, again.