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How to Stay Productive during the Holidays

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Staying productive during the holidays can be difficult when you and your employees have so much to do. Stressors such as shopping, money worries, family, travel, etc. can make it difficult for you to keep your concentration. 

Workplace stress can easily overwhelm employees with worry about promotions, business changes, or work problems. With stress your body reacts, and you may experience health problems, burnout, and depression as a result. If you add the additional holiday stress to the regular workplace stress, your business is affected. 

These things can easily impact productivity, which affects your business.

What can you do to ensure productivity occurs in your office during the holidays?

1. Make plans early and don’t procrastinate

You know during the holidays that it will become difficult to manage all your tasks. You may be trying to finish one of your projects or goals. Others may be doing the same thing which can also affect your time. Because of this, you should plan ahead. What tasks could you complete early? Are you procrastinating on something? 

Think about projects you can finish early and do not wait until the last minute. Procrastination leads to more stress and may cause you to become overwhelmed. Likewise, stress can lead to procrastination. It is full circle. It is important that you plan for the holidays and you control what is possible for you to control.

2. Stay organized

Ensure you have a full proof plan to keep your daily activities organized. You should use a calendar and write down your daily tasks. As the holidays approach you can easily become overwhelmed, so you should ensure you keep a list of all your responsibilities. 

No matter how well you organize your day something will come that will throw you off your schedule . Plan for those times too. Schedule blank time in your calendar for those unknown factors.

3. Manage your time wisely

By using good time management skills, you should be able to manage your day effectively. By writing things down, delegating to others, and eliminating repetitive tasks, you should be able to keep yourself organized. If you are always in a hurry or you feel rushed and stressed every day, find ways to ensure you make each moment and each meeting count. Time management is important for every person regardless of whether you are just starting in your career or you are an entrepreneur. 

4. Develop good morning routines

Many successful people claim good morning routines helped them become successful. They may exercise, eat a good breakfast, meditate, or even plan for their day. Learn from other successful people and see what routines they have. They do a variety of activities to help them start their day. Whatever morning habits you choose, schedule your time wisely. Choose activities which make you feel your best. This will set the tone for the rest of the day. 

5. Take time off

Know when it is time to be off for you and your employees. Working every day or every hour isn’t good anytime, especially when your mind is not completely focused on your tasks. Schedule a vacation or a few days off. Enjoy the holidays and the time you have with your family. If you want to do things early this year, schedule time off early to get some holiday shopping completed or get some tasks done. Not everything has to be completed two weeks before the holiday. Things can be done earlier. 

6. Understand how your employees need to be motivated

Realize as a business owner, your employees aren’t going to work like you do. Are there things you can do to help them stay more motivated or engaged? Can you shut down some days or offer flexible scheduling? Could they work from home some? If you can offer some flexibility, remember this will mean a lot to your employees. Why does that matter? Because it drives engagement, which drives loyalty and lowers turnover. 

7. Don’t multitask too much

Try to focus on one thing at a time to keep your concentration. Although we think we are getting many things done at once, we are spending too much time trying to do too many things. Concentrate on one task at a time so you can successfully mark it off your list. It is a great feeling when you can cross something off when it is completed. 

Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People said“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” Know what your priorities are because those are the things which should capture your attention. Maintain your focus on the important things and don’t focus on things which don’t matter. 

8. Cooperate with others

Before the holidays get started, meet with your fellow co-workers and your employees. Talk to them and find out what they may need from you or what you may need from them. You may also be working on some of the same things, so you probably can divide or eliminate some tasks. There may even be some tasks that can be held off until the next year. By collaborating with others, you will discover new information that can help you prepare. Ensure those who aren’t taking off know what they need to do during the holidays at work. Ensure you have plans in place so they don’t become overwhelmed.

9. Plan for next year

If you are going to be one of those who will be working, and it is expected to be slow during that time, think about your goals for the next year. This is a good time to get organized and know what you must do to become a top performer. Think about what you have achieved in the last year. Focus on what you need to do to get to that next level in your career or with your company. 

10. Be optimistic

Instead of worrying about who is coming for the holidays or how much you must do, think about being positive instead. Sometimes putting our minds into a more positive way of thinking can help us and it can help others who are around us. By being positive, you can spread that mindset and teach it to those who work with or for you. Optimism helps you be more creative and helps you stay productive. Whenever you have a negative thought, quickly change your thought process to become more positive. Positive thinking can help you battle stressors or worry every day. You can also practice daily affirmations or positive self-talk to help you stay productive during the holidays.


As a manager, ensure you communicate your expectations to your staff. Once they know what they need to do, trust them to get it done. Offer your help if needed, but guide and teach them some methods you may have uncovered to help yourself. They want to do a good job, but they may be suffering from stress too. Offer suggestions and meet with them before the holidays begin. If you know they are okay, this can help relieve some stress. 

Whatever you do, don’t get distracted. Stay focused, stay on plan, and stay positive. Get up early, eat breakfast, and exercise. Enjoy the holidays and don’t let them stress you. Don’t procrastinate doing tasks either. If you plan your steps and your days, you will be able to keep your productivity up and teach your employees to do the same thing. 

Author: Kimberley Kay Travis

Kim Travis has over 20 years of experience in business, human resource management, and leadership roles. She has specialized knowledge in employment law, employee relations, recruiting, management consulting, small business growth, leadership development, workplace safety and health programs, and writing business content.