5 Proven Ways To Stay Productive During The Holidays
5 Proven Ways To Stay Productive & Achieve Your Goals During the Holidays:
Imagine two holiday scenarios. One, you’re exhausted, overworked, stressed, and of course the finale, a big fight at a holiday dinner. The second, you’re worn out a bit, but you breeze through the holidays enjoying yourself and bringing good cheer to others.
Want to increase your chances of living out the second scenario? We’re not going to go into the details of good advice like:
- Turn off the phone
- Don’t drink too much alcohol
- Get rest and exercise
- Be willing to say ‘no’ to some invitations
Instead, we’ll look at some lesser known strategies and the research behind them. Ready?
Strategy 1: Plan Your Shopping Days Right Now
Think about it. If you decide to shop when you have spare time, it will never happen. You’ll only end up squeezing in shopping at the last minute under high stress. So plan your mall days well ahead of time and respect your plans. This allows you to put it out of your mind and organize around this task.
Strategy 2: Take 15-17 minute breaks every hour
Believe it or not, the most productive people take frequent breaks. Researchers at the Draugiem Group found that the ideal work rhythm was 52 minutes of work followed by a 17-minute break. The key here is to dedicate 52 minutes to work and work alone – no checking email or social media. You can do whatever you want during the break, but whatever you do, don’t work. The most effective breaks are taken away from your desk.
The neuroscience behind this is that the brain works best in bursts of activity, and then it needs to reboot. If you follow this natural biological rhythm, you’ll be more productive.
This goes against the grain of multitasking. The American Psychological Association showed multitasking to be counterproductive since your brain has to start and stop over and over again which is inefficient. Instead, focus on work intensely, then take a break.
Strategy 3: Keep a to-do list
The holidays include unusual tasks that make the season special. Still, when you have many of these, it can stress you out trying to keep track of them all. So keep a list of things like “buy a gift for Aunt Betty” and “buy cranberry sauce” handy. By writing it down, you worry less and can focus on the job at hand.
Strategy 4: Adjust your morning mood
This might be easier said than done, but starting off the day with a positive, upbeat mood pays dividends. A Harvard Business Review study showed that people who begin the day in a positive mood provide higher-quality service.
How can you accomplish this? The spoken word has a lot of power. Verbally expressed positive affirmations can literally rewire your mood. Incorporate some go-to slogans to say to yourself each morning, such as:
- This is a great day. It’s full of opportunity. I am willing and capable.
- I am thankful for this day. I will take advantage of every moment.
- It’s awesome to be alive here and now. I will make this day count.
Come up with your own affirmations and repeat them out loud several times as part of your morning routine.
Strategy 5: Declutter
Research from Princeton Neuroscience Institute shows that workplace clutter decreases productivity. A messy field of view stresses the brain since it can’t focus as much on the task at hand. We are visual creatures, so tidy up your desk and let your brain focus better.
Finally, don’t forget to take some time to reflect on the meaning of the holiday season. Give thanks and spread goodness to everyone. Happy Holidays!