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7 Tips to Stay Productive During the Distracting Holiday Season

Posted by Mark Duval on Dec 10, 2015, 7:30:00 AM
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As the year comes to an end and countless tasks continue stacking up on your daily to-do list, reading one more “how to start the new year off on the right foot” article is probably not a high priority for you.

However, you should prioritize taking a moment to read this article so you can stay productive and keep chipping away at your lengthy to-do list. Here’s why: there are multiple distractions during this time of the year – from holiday parties to present shopping, and even making reservations for dining or travel. All of these things can be considered convenient excuses to take your eye off the ball and not make those necessary calls.

Let’s dismiss one myth right away: not everyone is on vacation during the weeks of Christmas & New Years. In an earlier blog, I mentioned “head trash”; these are things that we tell ourselves in order to justify not doing something or not being productive. Historically, I’ve had very good success getting to decision makers during these “so-called” vacation weeks.

Since the last thing that you need during this time of year is to add yet another list to your already growing list of to-do’s, I will try to keep this simple.

Here are 7 things that you can do to stay productive through the end of the year:

  1. Assuming you have a written plan, review that and stick to it! This will keep you on track with how many calls, emails, LinkedIn connections, etc. you need to achieve to hit your weekly targets. Take it out, keep it on your desk or desktop, and don’t veer off course.
    • If I assumed wrong and you don’t have a written plan, give yourself some weekly targets on sales and outreach efforts to keep yourself on track. There are too many distractions this time of year to not have a plan!

  2. Hold yourself accountable. Share your short-term or sprint-to-finish goals with a co-worker or boss so you can’t back out of them later.

  3. Say “no” to one holiday lunch this week, and then do the same for the following week. Prioritize which ones are necessary to attend vs. the ones that can be considered lower priority distractions that will simply take you away from achieving your goals.

  4. Stay off the internet! I understand that you need to buy presents or make reservations, but don’t use your work time to do this. Instead, you can take a lunch at your desk and do it then. It’s important to keep the internet to business-related tasks only to eliminate unnecessary distractions.

  5. Work sprints – ever heard of them? Give yourself 25 minute blocks of time to keep your head down and plow through your work. There are many time-management tools available to assist you; Pomodoro is one that comes to mind, for example. You can even set a timer on your cell phone. Put your cell on airplane mode, work for 25 minutes, take a 5 minute break, and then get right back to it. There are also great apps available that will block all social media channels, etc. to keep them from distracting you. These can be helpful to utilize during work hours all year long, but especially during the holidays.

  6. Identify when you are the most productive – by now, you know if you are a morning or afternoon person. Guard your peak productive hours extra carefully, and block that time out for selling or one of your “work sprint” sessions. Schedule meetings during the time periods when you might not be as productive.

  7. Prioritize: most likely not everything will get done. Remember this rule: Worst Things First. It may be tempting to start with the tasks that are easier or that you enjoy the most, but putting off the most difficult or urgent tasks will only hurt you in the end.

'Tis the season for distractions, but with some clear, well-defined processes in place, you should be able to get a lot of those end-of-year tasks completed. When you plan your work and work your plan, the holidays are actually a great opportunity to refresh your work ethic and adopt new practices in productivity.

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Topics: Biz Development Processes & Tips

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