December. The month of holiday cheer, endless celebrations … and a serious lack of motivation in the workplace. It seems as soon as December hits, many people slowly begin to fade into vacation mode, working fewer hours, staying out later at night, losing sleep, and falling short in productivity. Whether it’s the joy and excitement of the season or the stress of the chaos, if you’re struggling to find the effort to put into your workday, you’re not alone.
We believe in ending the year strong, and though it may be easier said than done, there are many rhymes and reasons why stepping up your game in December will make for a more enjoyable holiday season and a more profitable New Year. Here are our tried and true tips.
- Don’t escape. Many people will check out of work early to get ready for an evening event, or take a Friday off to conquer the mall. As much as you’re tempted, don’t. By sticking to a normal work schedule, productivity will come easier. And when 5pm rolls around, it will feel all the more rewarding knowing that you put in a full workday.
- Make a list and stay on pace. December is filled with busy schedules and exciting events, all of which make for easy distractions. At the beginning of each day, take a few minutes to create a list of the tasks you need to finish before 5pm. List them in order of importance, with the largest projects at the top. When you finish a task, check it off, and take a five-minute break. You’ll come back to your desk with a refreshed mind, a feeling of confidence, and one less thing to do.
- Prepare and prioritize. No one wants to spend their holiday vacation dreaming of looming deadlines. If you have a project due at the beginning of January, accomplish it before you leave the office for the holidays. Not only will it make your return in the New Year less stressful, it will allow you to truly unplug from work and enjoy your time away.
- Set boundaries. When you’re at work, work. When you’re at home celebrating the holidays with your family, do just that. Converse and laugh, eat and drink. By making sure work gets done during those set hours, the more you can be fully present in the other areas of life.
- Check out when it’s time. When it comes time to wrap things up and head out for the holiday, do so properly. Let the people in your network know you will be out of the office, and give them a back-up way to contact you if needed. Make sure all loose ends are tied up, and finally, clean and organize your desk so you have a blank slate to come back to in January. After all, the New Year is all about a fresh start.
So, as much as we all love the anticipation and joy that December brings, by continuing to go strong at work all the way until the final hour, you win the game before it even begins.