I was recently asked:
What Do You Do Differently During the Holiday Season To Get it All Done?
Short answer: I double down on all the productivity tips, hacks, and habits I use and teach all year long.
Longer detailed answer below…
During the holiday season we have the double challenge of end-of-month for November and December, and end-of-year or end-of-semester project deadlines both at work and at school. Add to that all the extra holiday related events we want to do with family, friends, church, and community on top of the holiday decorating, cooking/baking, and travel. Those twenty-four hours per day that we are all given just isn’t enough!
My gift to you this Thanksgiving is three of the most effective productivity tips that apply to home and work:
1. Prioritize tomorrow’s tasks at the end of the day, and put those tasks on your calendar, not a To-Do list…
I brainstorm all the things I want to accomplish on a scrap piece of paper and call it my To-Do list. Then, I look at my goals, and with those in mind, prioritize the items on my To-Do list. There are always more things I want to do than I realistically can do.
Once priorities are set, and I have determined how long each task should take, I open my calendar and find a place for my #1 task, preferably in the morning. I continue plugging tasks in my calendar in order of priority at the time they both fit and make sense. For example, if I have a number of phone calls to make, I batch those all together at one time, or I use those as fillers if I have odd moments and the calls are short.
When my calendar is full, I put the next task at the bottom, as a bonus would-be-nice-but-not-required task. Then I throw away the to-do list, turn out the lights and go home or go to bed.
If there are items on the list that are priority and truly need to get done that you honestly don’t have time for, or don’t require your personal touch, delegate them.
If baking isn’t your jam, but you need to bring something to an event, no shame in asking someone else to take care if it, or purchasing it prepared. If end of the quarter analysis needs to be done, is this something an assistant can do?
Perhaps a quick family meeting to determine holiday priorities and let a spouse, roommate, or child be responsible for the thing most important to them. I used to spend crazy hours baking and decorating, only to learn years later that those things weren’t a priority to anyone in my home. So, since they didn’t care, I stopped baking Christmas Cookies and cut way back on the decorations.
3. Schedule Margin…
I have found over the years that things rarely go according to plan. There will be emergencies, stop-and-go traffic, someone will call in sick, some tasks will take longer than expected, bad weather will upset the plan, and perhaps your boss or spouse will have a sudden crisis that suddenly becomes your fire to put out.
Expect the unexpected, and schedule some free time, or pad how long you think a task will take. Sure Google Maps says it’s 25 minutes to the store, but it will also take time to park, walk, and manage the crowds to get in and out of the store–factor all that in, and add an extra 15-minutes.
Should you find yourself with a bit of free-time in the midst or at the end of a hectic day, congratulations, enjoy some stress management, perhaps meditation, a walk, call Mom or your BFF, play with your kids or pet, make a cup of tea, etc.
Most importantly: make sure you schedule enough sleep, exercise, healthy meals, and time to breathe.
If you want to know more, or are considering hiring a professional coach or speaker for your event, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to help you become more effective in reaching your goals.
I write, and I help writers and entrepreneurs build their online platforms and market their businesses.
I am a…WRITER: mysteries, historical fiction, digital media, and nonfictionSPEAKER: encouraging, educational, and entertainingCOACH: platform building, productivity, social media, and writing craftMARKETER: Social media strategist, social media manager, event promotion, market research & analysis.